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Keith Besserud, BlackBox/SOM

April 8, 2009 at 11:30 am - 1:30 pm

KEITH BESSERUD is an architect and the leader of the BlackBox Studio in the Chicago office of Skidmore Owings & Merrill. Keith received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and then his Masters from Georgia Tech. After practicing for 19 years he made the decision to return to school for an engineering degree in the newly created Product Architecture and Engineering program at the Stevens Institute of Technology. The PAE program at Stevens provided the opportunity for an intensive, cross-disciplinary concentration in the application of advanced digital technologies to the practice of Architecture.

To build on this experience Keith was invited to establish the BlackBox Studio at SOM in Chicago. The BlackBox Studio emphasizes the use of parametric modeling, performance analysis tools, and computer programming as a means to bridge disciplinary divides in search of novel and “informed” building forms. Their toolbox includes heuristics based on evolutionary computation, swarm theory, emergence, and other stochastic methods to simulate physical and behavior patterns. Some of their recent work deals with solar form optimization, parametric urban design, sunlight access optimization, and natural patterns of mall walkers. His talk will touch on the relevance of newly enabled concepts in the practice of architecture (due to computation) such as rules-based design, optimization, and emergence.

(This seminar is reserved for students and faculty of the Arch Doctoral Program. If you would like to take part, please contact Lisa Hauser weeze@umich.edu.)


April 8, 2009
11:30 am - 1:30 pm