Rivka Oxman is an architect, researcher, professor, and author. She holds graduate and undergraduate degrees from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, where she has been Vice Dean for Teaching at the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning. Rivka Oxman has been a Visiting Professor at Stanford University, Delft University of Technology and held research appointments at MIT and University of California, Berkeley, and other universities. She has been involved with research and teaching activities with the University of Sydney and Kaiserslautern University of Technology.
Oxman has been invited to deliver keynote lectures around the world in leading conferences, including USA, ACADIA 2000; Europe, CAAD Futures 1997; 2011; South America, SIGraDi 2004, 2009; Australia, CAADRIA 2011; Asia; as well as universities and institutions. She has published more than 100 papers in numerous leading international scientific journals and scientific conferences books and invited chapters in books. Her work is widely cited and influential in this area.
Rivka Oxman is an Associate Editor of Design Studies (Elsevier) - the international journal for design research in engineering, architecture, products and systems. She is also a member of numerous editorial boards of leading international scientific journals and conferences on design research and theory and on digital design. In 2006 she was appointed as a Fellow of DRS - the Design Research Society for her established record of achievement in design research, and attainment of peer recognition as a researcher of professional standing and competence. She has received the Design Research Society and Elsevier Science Award for the best paper of the year in Design Studies: (“The Thinking Eye: Visual Re-Cognition in Design Emergence”) for her contribution to the understanding of cognitive aspects of visual reasoning in design emergence. She has been a Jury Member in the yearly Feidad - Far Eastern International Digital Architectural Design Award from 2001–2007.
Recently she has co-edited with Professor R. Oxman a special issue of the Architectural Design (AD) journal on “The New Structuralism: Design, Engineering and Architectural Technologies”. The New Structuralism has broad implications for the way we conceive and undertake architectural design. It describes the convergence of design, engineering and architectural technologies as a new material practice in experimental architecture. In this pioneering publication, this important shift is fully defined as a highly dynamic synthesis of emerging principles of spatial, structural and material ordering integrated through the application of materialization and fabrication technologies.
- 1 Research Contribution
- 2 Artificial Intelligence
- 3 Virtual Design
- 4 Digital Design
- 5 Keynote Lectures
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Oxman's research interests are related to design and computation, including digital architecture and methodology exploring their contribution to the emergence of new paradigms of architectural design and practice.
Rivka Oxman has explored experimental methods and formalized various design paradigms that are founded on concepts and methods in Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence such as Rule-based Design, Expert Systems, and Case-based reasoning. Over the years this approach has provided a foundation for the understanding and theoretical formulation of design knowledge, of the significance of design representations and of the types of design reasoning. Beyond these theoretical contributions, Oxman’s work has also established a methodological basis for the development of computational formalisms and tools and for their application in design systems. Furthermore the theoretical and applied research work on design systems has together made a profound impact on design education. Her work on digital didactics is the culmination of many years of experimental work in design studio education. Her experimental design studios are currently integrated with seminars that provide an opportunity to experiment with a research-based pedagogical approach to education in the digital design studio.
Expert Systems (Expert Systems in Design)
Prototype-based Systems and Typological Design
The representation and formalization of domain knowledge has been a central focus of Oxman’s work in the field of artificial intelligence in Design. In the development of the PRODS system, emphasis has been on the representation of generic and typological knowledge, characteristic forms of domain knowledge in architecture. This knowledge is collectively referred to as “typological knowledge" These forms of design knowledge are frequently considered among important classes of knowledge and reasoning processes that are gained by designers through personal experience. Among other work, Oxman has developed and implemented a hybrid "shell" composed of frame-based systems and rule-based systems (Oxman, 1990 "Design Shells: A Formalism for Prototype Refinement in Knowledge-Based Design Systems") and implemented a system that contained knowledge of an architectural type.
Case-based Systems and Design Precedent Knowledge
The knowledge of prior design solutions forms an important class of design knowledge that designers are able to reuse in current design situations. This knowledge is frequently referred as design precedent knowledge and is a form of reasoning referred to as Case-based Reasoning by the larger scientific community. Rivka Oxman was among the first researchers to apply these ideas to design; she developed a new approach to the formulation and modeling of the prior knowledge of designs. She demonstrates in her work how this significant type of knowledge, associated with experiential reasoning, is gained from prior solutions. Her seminal paper (Oxman, 1990 "Prior Knowledge in Design, A Dynamic Knowledge-Based Model of Design and Creativity") is employed widely and highly cited by other researchers. Her original work, built on the theory of case-based reasoning was termed Precedent-based Design and was considered to be one of the first works in this area (Oxman, 1994 "Precedents in Design: a Computational Model for the Organization of Precedent Knowledge")
Conceptual Network, Associative Reasoning Formalism
The formulation of conceptual networks as a basis for the acquisition, formalization, and reuse of such prior design knowledge has become an important component of design research agenda since the growth of the internet. The representational formalism of design precedent knowledge that Oxman developed was termed the ICF Formalism. The formalism presents a semantic network (conceptual network) of design Issues, design Concepts, and Formal solutions.
In considering the formalization of the knowledge of design precedents it has been necessary to accommodate the fact that design knowledge is both textual (conceptual) as well as visual. The recognition of the hybrid nature of the conceptual and the visual as dual processes in design was explored in classifying and defining two of the central paradigms of design: refinement and adaptation (Oxman, 1997 "Design by Re-Representation: A Model of Visual Reasoning in Design"). Her work was an important contribution to the formulation of the duality of conceptual and visual reasoning which also exploited the ICF formalism. The ICF formalism has subsequently been applied in various fields of design. Among other work, Rivka Oxman and her students have employed this formalism to acquire domain knowledge of emerging practice in the field of digital architecture (Oxman, Sarid*, Bar Eli* and Rotenstreich*, 1997 "A Conceptual Network for Web Representation of Design Knowledge"; Bar On and Oxman, 2002 “Context Over Content: ICPD, A Conceptual Schema for the Building Technology Domain”; Oxman and Rotenstreich*, 2005 "Conceptual Content of Design Paradigms in Digital Architecture").
Cognition and Computation in Design Education
Much of the work described deals with studying and formulating the thinking processes of the designer, or the cognitive foundations of design. This work has important implications for the theory and practice of design education. In addition to this general theme of exploiting knowledge gained from design research (e.g. the growth of understanding of design knowledge) as a basis for new approaches to design education, Oxman has attempted to update these theories as the digital age has begun to create revolutionary changes in design processes and design practices.
A strong relationship between cognition and computation has been developed in Oxman’s work on the education of the designer in general, and since the growth of the significance of the digital impact on design. Design thinking, or the "Designerly Thinker" is a subject of key significance and is one important orientation of many of her papers. (Oxman, 1999 "Educating the Designerly Thinker”; “The Mind in Design - A Conceptual Framework for Cognition in Design Education”)
The theoretical/methodological work has also established a strong theoretical basis for the development of computational formalisms and tools and for the subsequent application of such tools in design education (Oxman 2003 “Think-Maps: Teaching Design Thinking in Design Education”). Both papers, which are highly cited by other researchers, present and argue for a structured approach in design education which exploits representations of design knowledge in order to allow an explicit definition of the knowledge employed in design as a theoretical basis for design education.
Design Emergence and Creativity
Rivka Oxman’s work on the nature of the relationship between knowledge and visual reasoning in design has contributed to a new focus in the field of design research with respect to emergence and creativity. In Oxman’s research on design emergence it was found to be based upon certain important mechanisms: among these, the process of design as re-representation. Her papers in this field are highly cited by other researchers (Oxman, 1997 "Design by Re-Representation: A Model of Visual Reasoning in Design") and the processes of visual cognition (Oxman, 2002 "The Thinking Eye: Visual Re-Cognition in Design Emergence”). This latter paper received the Annual Design Studies Best Paper Award, granted by the Design Research Society and Elsevier Science.
Rivka Oxman’s work in design has relevance to subjects related to virtual design -or the design in, or of, virtual worlds. These include subjects such as how domain knowledge in architectural design can be applied in virtual design. In her work she defines, models and evaluates the architectural and design contributions to the strengthening of the sense of presence in virtual environments and, particularly, the role of human behavior in these environments. The following topics are currently being investigated in collaboration with her graduate students: Designing presence (Oxman, Palmon*, Shahar and Weiss, 2004 "Beyond the Reality Syndrome: Designing Presence in Virtual Environments"); and the Evaluation of Virtual Environments for Barrier-Free Design (Palmon* Oxman, Shahar and Weiss; 2005 "Virtual Environments in Design and Evaluation: An Aid for Accessible Design of Home Modification").
Theories, Models and Methodologies of Digital Design
In her recent work, Rivka Oxman has been attempting to establish, define, and classify the significance that the new digital media have upon design processes and methods; this has also to accommodate a theoretical and methodological foundation for digital design. Theories and methods of digital design can no longer be conceptualized as the merging of CAD tools with conventional formulations of design. Given the growing amplitude of issues and subjects in digital design as witnessed by both practice and academia, Rivka Oxman has formulated a research framework that is suitable to the subject. Her proposed framework contributes relevant theoretical and methodological structure to the field, pivotal issues and definitions that are both characteristic of the field and powerful in their predictive ability.
Her research since 2004 has attempted to address these challenges. She has worked to define and formulate these new phenomena in an international workshop at MIT (Oxman et al.; 2004 “Cognition and Computation in Digital Design”) and in a first special issue of the Design Studies journal on the topic 'Digital Design' (Oxman, 2006). Oxman has also explored these issues and other theoretical concepts of digital design in papers (Oxman, 2006 “Theory and Design in the First Digital Age”) The definition and the conceptual mapping of this emerging body of concepts is the subject of a critical reader scheduled to appear in 2011 and to be published by ‘Taylor and Francis’ (UK) under the title of “The Digital in Architecture”.
In this current work she presents a body of theoretical explication of key concepts in the emerging theory of digital design; among these are significant novel concepts such as Performance-based Design (Oxman, 2008 "Performance based Design: Current Practices and Research Issues"); Morphogenesis; Form-finding and Parametric design.
Digital Design Pedagogy
In addition to this research and writing, Rivka Oxman has also explored novel concepts of design thinking and design education in the framework of an experimental digital design studio at the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning at the Technion (Oxman, 2007 "Digital Architecture: Re-thinking Theory, Knowledge, Models and Medium - Challenge to Digital Design and Design Pedagogy").
Design and Fabrication
Rapid prototyping (RP) and Fabrication Technologies today are absorbed into practice and are being recognized as significant technologies for design. Oxman and Sass have attempted to formulate questions and issues of fabrication techniques as a design medium that supports the full spectrum of digital design as a paperless process. These issues have been the resultant of early experimental and hands-on involvement with RP and fabrication technologies in research and educational environments. They have demonstrated a process of design situated between conceptual design and real- world construction. (Sass and Oxman 2006 “Materializing Design”).
Morphogenesis in Digital Design
Tectonics is a seminal concept that defines the nature of the relationship between architecture and its structural properties. The changing definition of the symbiotic relationship between structural engineering and architectural design may be considered one of the formative influences on the conceptual evolution of tectonics in different historical periods. Recent developments in the field of morphogenesis, digital media, theories techniques and methods of digital design have contributed a new models of integration between structure, material and form in digital tectonics. Oxman in her research work proposed and defined tectonics as a model of morphogenetic process. Her paper Oxman Rivka (2010) “Morphogenesis in the theory and methodology of digital tectonics“ identifies and presents the manner in which theory and emerging concepts of morphogenesis as well as digital models of design are contributing to this new model. The paper analyzed the historical evolution of tectonics as a concept and characterizes the emergence of theoretical framework reflected in concepts and terms related to morphogenesis.
The New Structuralism – Design Engineering and Architectural Technologies
Rivka Oxman has co-edited with Professor Robert Oxman a new book on “The New Structuralism: Design, Engineering and Architectural Technologies”. The New Structuralism has broad implications for the way we both conceive and undertake architectural design, as its impact starts to emanate not only across education internationally, but also through architectural research and practice. It describes the convergence of design, engineering and architectural technologies as a new material practice in experimental architecture. In this pioneering publication, this important shift is fully defined as a highly dynamic synthesis of emerging principles of spatial, structural and material ordering integrated through the application of materialization and fabrication technologies providing the foundations for a new theory of structuring in architecture.
Rivka Oxman has been recently invited to deliver keynote lectures on Design Cognition and Computation; on Digital Design; and on Design Education for Digital Design in the following international conferences and symposia
SIM - Keynote Lecture: "Informed Tectonics in Material-based Design" in SIM 2013: International Conference on Sustainable Intelligent Manufacturing, Lisbon, Portugal 
CAAD Futures - Keynote Lecture: "The New Structuralism" in CAAD Future 2011: International Conference on Computer Aided Design in Architecture, Liege, Belgium 
CAADRIA - Keynote Lecture: "The New Structuralism as a Material Practice" in CAADRIA 2011: International Conference on Computer Aided Architectural Design in Asia Newcastle, Australia
DIA Dassau - Keynote Lecture: "Content and Media in Digital Design" in International Symposium on Design Education as a Research Laboratory, DIA Dassau Institute of Architecture, Germany
Design Modeling Symposium - Keynote Lecture: "Digital architecture as a challenge for design pedagogy: theory, knowledge, models and medium in Concepts beyond Geometry" in DMS 2009: The International Design Modeling Symposium, Berlin, Germanyl 
SIGRADI - Keynote Lecture: "DDNET Conceptual Structures of Digital Design" in Sigradi 2009: the 13th Iberoamerican Congress of Digital Design, From Modern to Digital: The Challenges of Transition, São Paulo, Brazil 
Universidad de Chile - Keynote Lecture: "Digital Design Paradigms" under the MECESUP UCH-0217 initiative, Celebration of the 155 year anniversary of the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism, Santiago, Chile
eCAADe - Keynote Lecture: "The Challenge of Design Computation" in ECAADE 5th International Conference of the European Computer Aided Architectural Design in Education, Vienna University of Technology, Vienna, Austria
- Design Studies Editorial Board
- List of DRS Fellows
- Wiley Publications, ISBN 978-0-470-74227-3
- Oxman Rivka (1990). "Design Shells: A Formalism for Prototype Refinement in Knowledge-Based Design Systems". Artificial Intelligence in Engineering Vol. 5, No. 9, pp. 2-8.
- Oxman Rivka (1990). "Prior Knowledge in Design, A Dynamic Knowledge-Based Model of Design and Creativity" Design Studies, Butterworth-Heinemann. Vol.11, No.1, pp.17-28
- Oxman Rivka (1994). "Precedents in Design: a Computational Model for the Organization of Precedent Knowledge", Design Studies, Vol. 15 No. 2 pp. 141-157
- Oxman Rivka (1997). "Design by Re-Representation: A Model of Visual Reasoning in Design" in Akin O. (ed.) a special issue on Prescriptive and Descriptive Models of Design, Design Studies, Vol. 18, No. 4, pp. 329-347
- Oxman Rivka, Sarid A.*, Bar-Eli S.* and Rotenstreich R.* (1997). "A Conceptual Network for Web Representation of Design Knowledge" in R. Junge (ed.), CAAD Futures 1997 Conference Proceedings ISBN 0-7923-4726-9 Munchen, Germany, Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 453-473
- Bar-On D.* and Oxman Rivka (2002) “Context Over content: ICPD, A Conceptual Schema for the Building Technology Domain” Automation in Construction, Vol 11, No.4 pp. 465-490
- Oxman Rivka and Rotenstreich R.* (2005) "Conceptual Content of Design Paradigms in Digital Architecture" in Digital Design: The Quest for New Paradigms, ECAADE 2005, European Computer Aided Architectural Design in Education, Portugal, Lisbon, ISBN 0-9541183-2-4 pp. 115-121
- Oxman Rivka (1999) "Educating the Designerly Thinker” in W.M. McCracken, C.M. Eastman and W. Newsletter (eds.) special issue on Cognition in Design Education, Design Studies Vol. 20, No.2, pp.105-122
- Oxman Rivka (2001). “The Mind in Design - A Conceptual Framework for Cognition in Design Education” in C. Eastman, W.M. McCracken and W. Newsletter (Eds.) Knowing and Learning to Design: Cognition in Design Education, Elsevier, Oxford
- Oxman Rivka (2003) “Think-Maps: Teaching Design Thinking in Design Education”. Design Studies, Vol. 25 No. 1 pp 63-91
- Oxman Rivka (1997). "Design by Re-Representation: A Model of Visual Reasoning in Design" in Akin O. (ed.) a special issue on Prescriptive and Descriptive Models of Design, Design Studies Vol. 18, No. 4, pp. 329-347
- Oxman Rivka (2002). “The Thinking Eye: Visual Re-Cognition in Design Emergence”. Design Studies, Vol. 23 No. 2 pp. 135-164
- Oxman Rivka, Palmon O.* Shahar M. and Weiss P. T. (2004). "Beyond the Reality Syndrome: Designing Presence in Virtual Environments" in Architecture in the Network Society, ECAADE 2004, European Computer Aided Architectural Design in Education, ISBN 0-9541183-2-4 Copenhagen, Denmark, pp. 35-42
- Palmon O.* Oxman, Rivka Shahar M. and Weiss P. T. (2005) "Virtual Environments in Design and Evaluation: An Aid for Accessible Design of Home Modification" in Learning from the Past, CAAD Futures 05’ International Conference on Computer-Aided Design in Architectural Design, Vienna, Austria, ISBN 1-4020-3460-1 pp. 145-154
- Oxman Rivka, Kolarevic B. Kvan T. (2004) Editors of a workshop proceeding of the First International Conference on Design Computing and Cognition (DCC’04) on the topic: “Cognition and Computation in Digital Design” MIT Cambridge, USA
- Oxman Rivka (2006) Guest Editor of a Special Issue on the topic of “Digital Design” in Design Studies - The International Journal for Design Research in Engineering, Architecture, Products and Systems, Elsevier Science, Vol. 27 No 3, May 2006
- Oxman Rivka (2006) “Theory and Design in the First Digital Age” Design Studies, Vol. 27 No. 3 pp. 229 - 265
- Oxman Rivka (2008) “Performance based Design: Current Practices and Research Issues” IJAC International Journal of Architectural Computing Vol. 6 Issue 1 pp. 1-17
- Sass L. and Oxman Rivka (2006) “Materializing Design” Design Studies, Vol. 27 No. 3 pp. 325 – 355
- Oxman Rivka (2010) “Morphogenesis in the theory and methodology of digital tectonics“ in R. Motro (guest editor) a special issue on Morphogenesis IASS: Journal of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures, 51(3) pp. 195-207
- Oxman Rivka and Oxman Robert (2010) Guest Editors, “The New Structuralism: Design, Engineering and Architectural Technologies” AD Architectural Design Wiley Publications, July 2010, ISBN 978-0-470-74227-3
- Design Modeling Symposium, Berlin 2009, Keynote lectures
- Official Site at the Technion
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