A fine balance

Words:
Eleanor Young

Precision is a finely judged part of design

Mirror work: Spot the reflections at IF_DO’s temporary pavilion for Dulwich Picture Gallery.
Mirror work: Spot the reflections at IF_DO’s temporary pavilion for Dulwich Picture Gallery. Credit: Joakim Boren

The pairing of ‘pinpoint accuracy’ and ‘collateral damage’ demonstrates that precision is a moving target, even with military resources. In design, computer drawings can give expectations of millimetre accuracy that are far harder to achieve on the ground. Site conditions, material dimensions, human error; not all of these can be overcome by calculated tolerances or fractional adjustments. The question for architects is where it matters. The grid has to be right, there can’t be gaps in the envelope, but do you let precision go on down pipes? Exposing the guts of services in soffits or a structure rather than borrowing the leeway of plasterboard will demand painful co-ordination of normally-hidden elements or the laborious sanding down of rough concrete. But, as the balancing of concealment and exposure show at IF_DO’s pavilion in Dulwich, this precision is an art. 


 

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