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.

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104042 items
RIBA3918Edward Hodges Baily completing the statue of Nelson for Nelson's Column, Trafalgar Square, London, in his studio

 
RIBA3919Designs for the interior decoration of Montagu House, 22 Portman Square, Westminster, London, for Mrs Elizabeth Montagu: plan for the carpet of the Great Drawing Room

 
RIBA3920Designs for gardener's house and hot houses, Lambton Hall, County Durham: elevation of the south front of the hothouses


RIBA3922Design for the Great Drawing Room in Montagu House, 22 Portland Square, London

 
RIBA3923Design for a drawing room

 
RIBA3924Design for Leeds Grammar School


RIBA3926Design for the grotto, Oatlands Park, Surrey

 
RIBA3928Studios for Messrs. Sound City (Films) Ltd, Shepperton

 
RIBA3929Studios for Messrs. Sound City (Films) Ltd, Shepperton


RIBA3930Langham Hotel, Portland Place, London

 
RIBA3931Design for the Three per Cent Consols Office, Bank of England, Threadneedle Street, City of London

 
RIBA3932Design for a monument


RIBA3937Design for stained glass windows depicting Saint Michael and Virtue for an unidentified 18th century church

 
RIBA3938Design for windows for the 'Willow Cathedral'

 
RIBA3939Design for the English School (later Bedford Modern School), Bedford


RIBA3940Design for Crom Castle (or Crum Castle), County Fermanagh: perspective of the facade overlooking the terrace and lake

 
RIBA3941Design for Goodrich Court, Herefordshire: perspective

 
RIBA3942Design for a conservatory, Beckford House, Southampton


RIBA3943Frei Otto

 
RIBA3944West German Pavilion, Expo '67, Montreal, by night

 
RIBA3945Design for an organ case, Burton-upon-Trent


RIBA3948Drawings from a sketchbook showing the gatehouse of Cockermouth Castle, Cumbria, and part-plan of Norris Castle, East Cowes, Isle of White

 
RIBA3949Design for a cottage ornee

 
RIBA3950Design for the interior decoration of a house