Evaluation of Thesis “Material-based Design Computation” by Neri Oxman

Level of design

The doctor thesis has the layout of the philosophical work, academic framework and as an experimental practice. In the thesis author faces intellectual and technical challenges, as well as with theoretical framework. Design, in this case, is the combination of prosthetic device design and product design in general. Despite the fact that idea is crossing the borders of the design definition and incline more in technological aspects, it is still the art experiment. Maybe, even more it was before.

Degree of innovation

As I mentioned in previous paragraph, the borders of design erasing in this work. Author is experimenting with forms, techniques and ways to product. Everything is described in detailed and step-by-step way, plus comparing things between each other.


The work itself is the independent research, that is made on the base of other people work, opinion, educational level, comments and help. Author mentioned all the people and educational institutions, museums and groups, that inspired her during her life, work and this particular thesis. Since such work is quite extensive and necessarily requires help from the side.

Outline and structure

Structure is divided into nine main parts: pores of the synthesis of material form, where the material-based computation, form and structure are described; nature’s way from micro to macro organisms; the new materiality or the influence of form, how it changed and current problems; design computation; material-based design computation; natural artifice — natural design in new way with the reference to form again, but from the nature angle; natural fabrication; contributions.

All modules are supported with explanation, examples and authors own experiments.

Degree of communication

Communication is clear and easy structured. Modules are presented as modules with sub-modules, what makes orientation fast and whole topic understandable. Experimental designs employing suggested theoretical and technical frameworks, methods and techniques are presented, discussed and demonstrated.

Scope of the work

Huge. Research from different side, with all possible and impossible materials, graphs, digital models, that clearly demonstrates the work done. Design experiments shows the contribution and the potential future of a modern design structure and future research field.

Orthography and accuracy

I would say, that accuracy is on a high level. As I mentioned, the whole thesis is described in precise manner, so person, that is outside the topic, can understand.


Author is referring to 389 resources. Most of them are from the engineering, biology and architecture spheres. Neri is using the computation methods work, more philosophical works, as “Design and Elastic Mind” or “The Ideas of Biology”, surface structure and resources, combining both technology and biology.