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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103876 items
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

RIBA1063211-27 Cowley Road, Lambeth, London

RIBA225101-13 St. Giles Court, St. Giles High Street, London: perspective view

RIBA72694117-118 Leadenhall Street, City of London: lobby with sculptural decoration

RIBA72695117-118 Leadenhall Street, City of London: lobby with sculptural decoration

RIBA72696117-118 Leadenhall Street, City of London: lobby with sculptural decoration

RIBA7774117-131 Regent Street, London

RIBA55738118 Heath Street, Hampstead, London

RIBA5017711a Morden Road Mews, Blackheath, London

RIBA9096211th Street Diner, Miami Beach, Miami

RIBA1098012 and 13 Collingham Gardens, Kensington, London

RIBA7931312 and 14 Cavendish Place, London

RIBA7255012 Chiswick Mall, London: the entrance doorway

RIBA10226412 Collingham Gardens, Kensington, London

RIBA10226512 Collingham Gardens, Kensington, London

RIBA2656812 Keats Grove, Hampstead, London

RIBA10155912 rue des Amiraux, Paris

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