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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103151 items
RIBA5010011 Manor Way, Blackheath, London: the living room

RIBA1766411 Melbury Road, Kensington, London

RIBA1096611 Melbury Road, Kensington, London: street front

RIBA10154511 place Adolph-Cherioux, Paris

RIBA10154411 place Adolph-Cherioux, Paris

RIBA1054711 Priory Row, Coventry

RIBA4738811 Priory Row, Coventry

RIBA5576611 Sebastian Street, Islington, London

RIBA7537911 Sheldon Avenue, Hampstead, London

RIBA7538011 Sheldon Avenue, Hampstead, London

RIBA1134711 Sheldon Avenue, Hampstead, London

RIBA7538111 Sheldon Avenue, Hampstead, London: the dining room and living room

RIBA7776111 The Close, Salisbury: detail of doorcase

RIBA475571-10 Moray Place, Strathbungo, Glasgow

RIBA146561-10 Moray Place, Strathbungo, Glasgow: the upper part of the back elevation

RIBA146581-10 Moray Place, Strathbungo, Glasgow: the upper part of the back elevation

RIBA9849110-120 Pixmore Way, Letchworth Garden City

RIBA4732011-14 Oriental Place, Brighton

RIBA1089911-15 Collingham Gardens, Kensington, London

RIBA4926611-16 North Brink, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire

RIBA776211-17 Waterloo Place, Lower Regent Street, London

RIBA5793411-18 Queensborough Mews, Paddington, London

RIBA5793511-18 Queensborough Mews, Paddington, London

RIBA1063111-27 Cowley Road, Lambeth, London

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