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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104035 items
RIBA1425510 Seymour Place, Marylebone, London

 
RIBA1497710 St Mary's Hill, Stamford

 
RIBA643710 Upper Grosvenor Street, London


RIBA33278100 Wood Street, City of London: the main facade clad in Portland stone seen from Love Lane with a glimpse of St Alban's church tower on the right

 
RIBA8111410-11 Cathedral Close, Exeter: detail of carved head on the main doorway

 
RIBA8111310-11 Cathedral Close, Exeter: detail of wooden carving on the main doorway


RIBA8111210-11 Cathedral Close, Exeter: the main doorway

 
RIBA11040010-11 Grosvenor Place, Belgravia, London

 
RIBA11039910-11 Grosvenor Place, Belgravia, London


RIBA11039410-11 Grosvenor Place, Belgravia, London

 
RIBA11039310-11 Grosvenor Place, Belgravia, London

 
RIBA11039710-11 Grosvenor Place, Belgravia, London


RIBA11039610-11 Grosvenor Place, Belgravia, London

 
RIBA11039510-11 Grosvenor Place, Belgravia, London: the entrance hall

 
RIBA11039810-11 Grosvenor Place, Belgravia, London: the entrance hall


RIBA1469110-12 Broughton Street, New Town, Edinburgh

 
RIBA109079103 Benhill Road, Camberwell, London

 
RIBA9863103-115 Rushby Mead, Letchworth Garden City


RIBA14508104 Gower Street, Bloomsbury, London

 
RIBA7802104-120 Regent Street, London

 
RIBA102295106-104 (l-r), Mount Street, Mayfair, London


RIBA102296106-104 (l-r), Mount Street, Mayfair, London

 
RIBA71076108 Eaton Place, Belgravia, London

 
RIBA71077108 Eaton Place, Belgravia, London: the sitting room


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