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

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102547 items
RIBA837410 Bolton Gardens, London: painting above the fireplace

 
RIBA837510 Bolton Gardens, London: painting above the fireplace

 
RIBA10227110 Collingham Gardens, Kensington, London


RIBA2652210 Downing Street, Whiltehall, London: glimpse of the front door

 
RIBA3040-3410 Downing Street, Whitehall, London

 
RIBA5728810 Downing Street, Whitehall, London


RIBA5803310 Edge Street, Kensington, London: sideboard cabinet

 
RIBA3425610 Exchange Square, Broadgate, City of London

 
RIBA3425810 Exchange Square, Broadgate, City of London, seen from Appold Street


RIBA3426010 Exchange Square, Broadgate, City of London, seen from Exchange Square

 
RIBA3426110 Exchange Square, Broadgate, City of London: close-up of the series of glass walls that make up the facade

 
RIBA3425510 Exchange Square, Broadgate, City of London: structural detail of the rear facade


RIBA3425710 Exchange Square, Broadgate, City of London: the foyer

 
RIBA7009510 Gresham Street, City of London, at dusk

 
RIBA7009610 Gresham Street, City of London, at dusk


RIBA7009710 Gresham Street, City of London, at dusk

 
RIBA7009410 Gresham Street, City of London, at night

 
RIBA4614510 Hills Place, Soho, London: close-up of a laminated glass window inserted in the facade


RIBA4614410 Hills Place, Soho, London: close-up of the facade

 
RIBA4663710 Palace Gate, London: the internal staircase of one of the flats between the double-height living room and the bedrooms above

 
RIBA4663810 Palace Gate, London: the internal staircase of one of the flats from the double-height living room to the bedrooms above


RIBA4663510 Palace Gate, London: the internal staircase of one of the flats from the double-height living room to the bedrooms above

 
RIBA4663610 Palace Gate, London: the internal staircase of one of the flats from the double-height living room to the bedrooms above

 
RIBA1425510 Seymour Place, Marylebone, London


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