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.

Explore the collection & buy prints

108601 items
RIBA125874Brill's Baths, East Street and Pool Valley, Brighton: interior perspective of the circular Gentlemen's Bath

 
RIBA125875Municipal baths, Henry Square, Ashton-under-Lyme: exterior perpsective and plans

 
RIBA125876Municipal baths, Henry Square, Ashton-under-Lyme: main pool


RIBA125877Design for a textile or wallpaper showing cornflowers and leaves

 
RIBA125878Design for a textile or wallpaper showing stylized flowers and leaves

 
RIBA125879Competition designs for the Assize Courts, Bristol (design A): ground floor plan


RIBA125880Competition designs for the Assize Courts, Bristol (design A): first and second floor plans

 
RIBA125881Competition designs for the Assize Courts, Bristol (design A): alternative ground floor plan

 
RIBA125882Competition designs for the Assize Courts, Bristol (design A): section on line A-B


RIBA125883Competition designs for the Assize Courts, Bristol (design A): sections showing proposed new roof to Guildhall Court for light and ventilation

 
RIBA125884Competition designs for the Assize Courts, Bristol (design A): section on line A-B

 
RIBA125885Competition designs for the Assize Courts, Bristol (design A): section showing window and wall detail


RIBA125886Competitions design for the Assize Courts, Bristol (design A): sections showing proposed new roof to Guildhall Court for light and ventilation

 
RIBA125887Competition designs for the Assize Courts, Bristol (design A): front elevation to Small Street

 
RIBA125888Half-length portrait of a young man in three-quarter profile, possibly by Thomas Gainsborough


RIBA125889Sketch of an heroic winged figure seated on a lion looking up to a medallion portrait of King George III with St Paul's Cathedral in the background

 
RIBA125890Sketch of Christ in Majesty

 
RIBA125891Half-elevation of a dormer with an elaborate decoration of masks, swags, shells and foliage


RIBA125892Two half-elevations of dormers at the Chateau of Montceaux

 
RIBA125893Three half-elevations of dormer windows and, below, a semicircular decorative motif

 
RIBA125894Three half-elevations of dormer windows and, below, a horizontal decorative panel inscribed Monceau


RIBA125895Four half-elevations of dormer windows

 
RIBA125896(Top) Round-headed dormer window surmounted by triangular pediment; (below) three half-elevations of decorative elements

 
RIBA125897Three half-elevations and one whole elevation of dormers with segmental pediments