The Bartlett School of Architecture


Paul King

There or Thereabouts, by Paul King


Codifying and Fabricating an Invisible Architecture


Digital Fabrication, Making, Construction

First and second supervisors 


This research seeks a location for undervalued, uncodified, and invisible components in contemporary architectural production. In particular, I aim to identify current notions of perfection in digital methods of design and fabrication, and to define the extent and value of error and imperfection within these methodologies.

Predominantly operating within the invisible space of tolerance, this research aims to propose a new way to view the connection between the drawn and the made that considers the glitch, the bug, the flaw, the fault and the virus as potential creative forces. By privileging the drawing, architecture has failed to adequately engage with the inevitability of error, the requirement of tolerance, and the value of imperfection as invisible, yet essential, components of the construction process and any realised building.

I will test this thesis through two parallel strands of enquiry: the written and the built. My written work will encompass a brief history of error and imperfection in architecture; a taxonomy of tools in architecture extending to current digital modes of production; and, ultimately, a codification of an invisible architecture of human, machine and material error. My built projects will be used to explore the physical nature and creative opportunities that these invisible components can offer digital design and fabrication.


Paul King is an architect, educator and academic researcher based in Sheffield. He is a Principal Lecturer and the Deputy Head of Architecture at Sheffield Hallam University School of Architecture.

Paul practised architecture for nearly 20 years in Liverpool, London and Manchester working for Urban Splash, Ian Simpson Architects and Glenn Howells Architects. Paul is a member of both the RIBA National and International Validation Panel and the Education, Research and Innovation Group for RIBA Yorkshire, and an external examiner at Manchester School of Architecture.

Paul is a PhD Candidate in Architectural Design at The Bartlett School of Architecture.

Image: ‘There or Thereabouts’, produced by Paul King.