Changing faces: architectural façades collection

Clever devices for comparing designs

Inspired by the We Live in the Office exhibition which takes us on an architectural journey as told through the history of the façade we thought it would be fun to put together a gallery of architectural drawings all of which feature moveable flaps, an ingenious graphic device by which the reader can view alternative designs on one sheet.

One of the major proponents of this device was the landscape architect Humphry Repton. Repton would produce a Red Book, so called because of their red Morocco leather bindings, for the client of each of his proposed landscape schemes. These bound volumes of essays and watercolours served as persuasive marketing tools for his work and included both 'before' and 'after' views of the development sites utilising overlaid paper flaps to indicate Repton's suggested improvements. One such example held by the RIBA is the Langley Park Red Book for Sir Peter Burrell in 1790 for his Beckenham seat.

One of Repton’s sons, the architect George Stanley Repton, also employed this device to good effect for example at Kitley House showing 'before' and 'after' views from all four points of the compass for the MP for Devonshire, Edmund Pollexfen Bastard.

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107513 items
RIBA135053Sixth Form Centre, St Teresa's School, Effingham, Surrey

 
RIBA135054Ashley Building, University of Birmingham (formerly the Faculty of Commerce and Social Science), Birmingham

 
RIBA135055Ashley Building, University of Birmingham (formerly the Faculty of Commerce and Social Science), Birmingham: the spiral staircase


RIBA135056Ashley Building, University of Birmingham (formerly the Faculty of Commerce and Social Science), Birmingham: detail of the external spiral staircase

 
RIBA135057Ashley Building, University of Birmingham (formerly the Faculty of Commerce and Social Science), Birmingham

 
RIBA135058Ashley Building, University of Birmingham (formerly the Faculty of Commerce and Social Science), Birmingham


RIBA135059Ashley Building, University of Birmingham (formerly the Faculty of Commerce and Social Science), Birmingham

 
RIBA135060Ashley Building, University of Birmingham (formerly the Faculty of Commerce and Social Science), Birmingham

 
RIBA135061Ashley Building, University of Birmingham (formerly the Faculty of Commerce and Social Science), Birmingham


RIBA135062Ashley Building, University of Birmingham (formerly the Faculty of Commerce and Social Science), Birmingham

 
RIBA135063Ashley Building, University of Birmingham (formerly the Faculty of Commerce and Social Science), Birmingham: detail of facade

 
RIBA135134BT Tower (formerly the Post Office Tower), 60 Cleveland Street, Fitzrovia, London, at dusk


RIBA135135County Hall, South Bank, Lambeth, London

 
RIBA135136HMV Factory, Station Road, Hayes, London

 
RIBA135137HMS Belfast with Tower Bridge beyond, London


RIBA135138Queen's Cottage, Kew Gardens, London

 
RIBA135139Gaumont State cinema, Kilburn High Road, London, at night

 
RIBA135140Little Venice, London


RIBA135141Lloyds, City of London

 
RIBA135142Lloyds, City of London

 
RIBA135143Kenwood House, Hampstead, London: the south front under snow


RIBA135144Harrods Department Store, Knightsbridge, London, at night

 
RIBA135145Harrods Department Store, Knightsbridge, London, at night

 
RIBA135146Distant view of the City of London skyline showing the Gherkin (Swiss Re 30 St Mary Axe), from 'More London'