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

103151 items
RIBA1497912 St Paul's Street, Stamford

 
RIBA7803122-132 Regent Street, London

 
RIBA103051127-133 Charing Cross Road, London


RIBA103049127-133 Charing Cross Road, London

 
RIBA103050127-133 Charing Cross Road, London

 
RIBA99260127-133 Wardour Street, London: perspective


RIBA557151-29 Kirk Street, Holborn, London

 
RIBA1682413 (now 12A) Collingham Gardens, Kensington, London

 
RIBA5235413 and 14 St Mary's Street, Stamford, flanking the entry to a cul-de-sac


RIBA461011-3 Balgores Crescent, Gidea Park, London

 
RIBA10226613 Collingham Gardens, Kensington, London

 
RIBA2391913 Downshire Hill, Hampstead, London: close-up of the dining area looking towards the living area


RIBA2392213 Downshire Hill, Hampstead, London: a single bedroom

 
RIBA2392013 Downshire Hill, Hampstead, London: a twin bedroom with purpose-built furniture

 
RIBA2391713 Downshire Hill, Hampstead, London: the dining-living area


RIBA4659213 Downshire Hill, Hampstead, London: the entrance

 
RIBA2392513 Downshire Hill, Hampstead, London: the front elevation

 
RIBA2391513 Downshire Hill, Hampstead, London: the main entrance and the living room French windows leading onto a paved terrace


RIBA2391413 Downshire Hill, Hampstead, London: the rear elevation

 
RIBA4659113 Downshire Hill, Hampstead, London: the roof terrace

 
RIBA4654213 Downshire Hill, Hampstead, London: the street elevation


RIBA2392113 Downshire Hill, Hampstead, London: the studio on the top floor fitted as a drawing office with built-in plan chest, document files, cupboards and a sliding table

 
RIBA7364013 Downshire Hill, Hampstead, London: the twin bedroom with purpose-built furniture

 
RIBA2391613 Downshire Hill, Hampstead, London: view from the studio on the top floor looking out onto the roof terrace with St John's Church, Downshire Hill in the background