Neri Oxman

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Some of the architects that we have focused on before brought modernism into the natural world by mimicry in the lines and shapes that make up the geometry of their structures, or in the engineering of their buildings. Neri Oxman comes at this whole notion from a more whimsical and even more organic viewpoint that has been capturing people’s imagination.

She is more of a conceptual artist exploring the territory where materials science might take architecture in the future, than an architect per se.

Extending the use of Computer-Aided Design beyond the mere layout of a building, she has used it to introduce 3D Printing and Digital Morphogenesis into the mix to make the building alive in a very real sense. Morphogenesis is the biological process through which an organism develops its shape, and Oxman is adding that element to her buildings.

Who would have thought that something like The Silk Pavilion would have been possible anywhere outside of a science fiction novel? Silkworms spun their silk on a nylon frame and created something very aesthetic, with possible practical applications in the future.

Oxman had planned out how she thought the silkworms might construct their silk, as you can see below, and like a lot of her proof of concept creations it was a learning process as much as anything.

Oxman gave both a TED Talk and delivered a keynote to the American Institute of Architects where she outlined what architecture’s shifting role would be and the changing playing field that it is going to occupy as radical new materials become available for construction.

The titles of some of her publications give an idea of where she sees technology and architecture traveling to — What if our buildings were grown not built? and Material Ecology.

What may seem to be currently just interesting think pieces, which have been test-bedded on a smaller scale in her installations, really do promise viable manufacturing alternatives for the future. Looking at the amazing G3DP, which made printing glass that can be used for architectural elements an actual thing, you can see that she is not just throwing abstract notions out there without scientific backing and a real endgame in sight.

Just imagine that as well as designing the structure of the building, in terms of its layout, you were designing an organic delivery system by which the materials could be grown.

I don't separate architecture, design, or culture. What's more important is a language of creativity that carries meaning.

~ Neri Oxman

Even with a future full of buildings built from coral and silkworm silk a long way off, the demands of any software used to manage these complex structures is going to be similar to what you want from software today, including simplicity of use. Being able to convert files between AutoCAD and MicroStation easily, with the help of Translation Manager, is vital. Axiom is here now to help you increase your productivity, and we will travel into the future with you every step of the way. Contact us at