Keith Besserud

Keith Besserud, AIA, is the founder and leader of BlackBox, an applied research-oriented computational design resource within the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Along with design partner, Ross Wimer, Keith set up the BlackBox studio in 2007 to lead the development and integration of advanced computational concepts within the multi-disciplinary design processes in the office. In particular the group is interested in exploiting various types and sources of data to guide form-finding design processes; to tap into better information and integrate it more effectively into the earliest stages of design.

Within this approach the group relies on parametric modeling frameworks built with scripting expertise and parametric software, as well as a variety of digital simulation and search optimization tools, including those that are commercially available as well as those that are custom-developed by the BlackBox team. The group applies its interests and skills at multiple scales, ranging from the product scale to the building scale to the urban scale, and has most recently been developing tools and methodologies related to the semantic modeling of cities and the digital integration of urban systems of systems.

Keith received his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois Urbana/Champaign and his Master of Architecture degree from Georgia Tech. After 20 years of practice he returned to school at the Stevens Institute of Technology where he earned a Master of Engineering degree in the Product Architecture & Engineering program, a highly innovative, intensive, trans-disciplinary program focused on the intersection of design and technology.