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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98974 items
Housing, Roehampton Vale, Wandsworth, LondonRIBA75134

 
Hurt's Hall, Saxmundham, Suffolk: perspectiveRIBA84128

 
Irish Embassy, 17 Grosvenor Place, Belgravia, London: the counter of the interview officeRIBA56159


Irish Embassy, 17 Grosvenor Place, Belgravia, London: the entrance hall and main staircaseRIBA56156

 
Irish Embassy, 17 Grosvenor Place, Belgravia, London: the interview officeRIBA56160

 
Irish Embassy, 17 Grosvenor Place, Belgravia, London: the kitchen in the ambassador's apartmentRIBA56158


Irish Embassy, 17 Grosvenor Place, Belgravia, London: the polished oak and plate screen separating the entrance hall from the reception hallRIBA56157

 
Laboratories for the Metropolitan Water Board at New River Head, Rosebery Avenue, London: the director's roomRIBA72716

 
Laboratories for the Metropolitan Water Board at New River Head, Rosebery Avenue, London: the rear elevationRIBA72714


Laboratories for the Metropolitan Water Board at New River Head, Rosebery Avenue, London: the south frontRIBA72712

 
Laboratories for the Metropolitan Water Board at New River Head, Rosebery Avenue, London: the south frontRIBA72713

 
Liverpool One urban regeneration area, Liverpool: one of the escalatorsRIBA54630


Longfield House, Uxbridge Road, Ealing, LondonRIBA64566

 
Maison Kammerzell, Place del Cathedrale, StrasbourgRIBA60923

 
Marine Baths and Reading Rooms, Portishead, near Bristol: perspective view, with the Bristol Channel seen in the backgroundRIBA83844


Mellor house and studio, Park Lane, Sheffield: the garden elevation with the studio on the left and the living room at rightRIBA61415

 
Ministry of Health Information Centre, Alexander Fleming House, Elephant & Castle, Southwark, LondonRIBA56275

 
Motorway services on the M4 at Membury, Berkshire: the cafeteriaRIBA56131


National Theatre, South Bank, London: the porte-cochere from ground level looking towards St Paul'sRIBA88132

 
Neptune Fountain, Piazza della Signoria Florence: detail of the horses on the base sculptureRIBA106448

 
New Museums site, Cambridge: model, seen from the Backs, with King's College Chapel and the Fellows Building on the leftRIBA88018


Northwick cinema, Ombersley Road, WorcesterRIBA59732

 
Norwegian Pavilion, 1958 World's Fair, BrusselsRIBA69375

 
Norwegian Pavilion, 1958 World's Fair, Brussels: detail of display casesRIBA69385


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