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

103876 items
RIBA10155712 rue des Amiraux, Paris

RIBA10155412 rue des Amiraux, Paris

RIBA10155812 rue des Amiraux, Paris

RIBA10155512 rue des Amiraux, Paris

RIBA10156012 rue des Amiraux, Paris: detail of balcony support

RIBA10155612 rue des Amiraux, Paris: the north elevation

RIBA10143412 rue Gaillon, Paris

RIBA10143212 rue Gaillon, Paris

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