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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108584 items
RIBA3705-74Queen's House, Greenwich, London, seen from Observatory Hill

 
RIBA3708-74George Street, Bath

 
RIBA3709-74Eaton Square, Belgravia, London


RIBA3710-74Park Crescent, Regent's Park, London, seen from the west

 
RIBA3711-74Housing, 103-123 St Marks Road, London

 
RIBA3712-74St Paul's, Covent Garden, London: the east facade on Covent Garden


RIBA3714-74The Rosslyn Arms, Hampstead, London

 
RIBA3715-74Cumberland Terrace, Regent's Park, London: central section