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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36 items
RIBA37333Copt Hall (or Copped Hall), Essex: proposed design for the rebuilding showing elevation of principal front with alternative treatment of dome (flap down)

 
RIBA37334Copt Hall (or Copped Hall), Essex: proposed design for the rebuilding showing elevation of principal front with alternative treatment of dome (flap up)

 
RIBA36690Design for alterations to Wolterton Hall, Norfolk: elevation with paper flap in place to show the house prior to proposed additions


RIBA36689Design for alterations to Wolterton Hall, Norfolk: elevation with paper flap removed to show proposed additional wings and an arcade with a terrace at first floor level

 
RIBA65353Design for remodelling in Elizabethan style, Kitley House, near Yealmpton, Devon: east front of the house after alterations

 
RIBA65352Design for remodelling in Elizabethan style, Kitley House, near Yealmpton, Devon: east front of the house before alterations


RIBA65357Design for remodelling in Elizabethan style, Kitley House, near Yealmpton, Devon: north front of the house after alterations

 
RIBA65356Design for remodelling in Elizabethan style, Kitley House, near Yealmpton, Devon: north front of the house before alterations

 
RIBA65355Design for remodelling in Elizabethan style, Kitley House, near Yealmpton, Devon: south front of the house after alterations


RIBA65354Design for remodelling in Elizabethan style, Kitley House, near Yealmpton, Devon: south front of the house before alterations

 
RIBA65329Design for remodelling in Elizabethan style, Kitley House, near Yealmpton, Devon: west front of the house after alterations

 
RIBA65326Design for remodelling in Elizabethan style, Kitley House, near Yealmpton, Devon: west front of the house before alterations


RIBA29478Design for remodelling Peamore House, Alphington, Devon: perspective of the garden front incorporating a paper flap in place showing the structure prior to alteration

 
RIBA29479Design for remodelling Peamore House, Alphington, Devon: perspective of the garden front showing the structure after alteration

 
RIBA29471Design for the re-fronting of the Warden's house, Winchester College, Winchester: the 18th century facade before alterations


RIBA29472Design for the re-fronting of the Warden's house, Winchester College, Winchester: the executed scheme

 
RIBA66502Design for the remodelling of Plas Newydd, Llanfairpwll, Anglesey, for the Marquess of Anglesey: elevation of lodges and entrance

 
RIBA66500Design for the remodelling of Plas Newydd, Llanfairpwll, Anglesey, for the Marquess of Anglesey: elevation of lodges and entrance with flier showing portcullis-like effect in the large central arch and the two smaller side entrances


RIBA67232Designs for a terrace of semi-detached houses (later numbers 114-135) Princes Place, Kennington Park Road, London: elevation of the end block of a terrace

 
RIBA67231Designs for a terrace of semi-detached houses (later numbers 114-135) Princes Place, Kennington Park Road, London: elevation of the end block of a terrace with flap showing an alternative version of the central four bays

 
RIBA65345Designs for alterations to the Old Church, Kingston, Dorset: perspective showing the building before alterations


RIBA65346Designs for alterations to the Old Church, Kingston, Dorset: perspective showing the church after alterations

 
RIBA68499Designs for alterations to the premises including warehouses for James Morrison & Co, 103-107 Fore Street, City of London: plan of the facade and sketch of proposed shop fronts with flap showing existing upper floors

 
RIBA68498Designs for alterations to the premises including warehouses for James Morrison & Co, 103-107 Fore Street, City of London: plan of the facade and sketch of proposed shop fronts with flap suggesting refacing upper floors of 106-107 to match those of 104


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