Keith Besserud, AIA, is the director of BlackBox, a research-oriented computational design resource within the Chicago office of Skidmore Owings & Merrill. 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 of the office.
The group is interested in exploiting various types and sources of data to guide form-finding design processes. Within this approach the group relies on parametric frameworks built with scripting expertise and parametric software, as well as a variety of simulation and search optimization tools, including those that are commercially available as well as those that are custom-developed by the team.
Keith received his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois Urbana/Champaign and his Masters of Architecture degree from Georgia Tech. After twenty years of practice he returned to school at the Stevens Institute of Technology where he earned a Masters of Engineering degree in the Product Architecture & Engineering program, a highly innovative, intensive, trans-disciplinary program focused on the intersection of design and technology.
Chris Drew, PhD, is a major contributor to Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill projects in terms of their energy efficiency, energy generation, reduction of carbon emissions, sustainable materials selection, waste management, water conservation, and other key performance indicators.
Drew was previously the department manager for sustainability at Masdar City, a zero-waste, carbon-neutral development near Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. He helped develop all aspects of Masdar City's sustainability strategy; sustainability management systems; and key performance indicators for design, construction, and operation. In addition, he was responsible for Masdar's environmental permitting and management as well as all aspects of the city's waste management strategy.
A native of the United Kingdom, Drew holds a doctorate from the University of Stirling and a bachelor of science degree in zoology from the University of Liverpool. He has written and published widely on ecological topics, including wildlife management and human impact on the environment and animal species. He has worked in the United Arab Emirates, the Sultanate of Oman, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, and the United Kingdom.
Stephen M. Ervin, MLA, PhD, FASLA, is the Assistant Dean for Information Technology at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, and a Lecturer in the Department of Landscape Architecture. Ervin teaches and conducts research in the areas of design, computing, media and technology, with a special interest in landscape modeling and visualization, and the integration of CAD, GIS and emerging technologies.
He is the author, together with co-author Hope Hasbrouck, of 'Landscape Modeling: Digital Techniques for Landscape Visualization' published by McGraw-Hill (ASLA Merit award winner in 2002). Ervin has taught and lectured worldwide and published articles in a number of journals including GIS World, Landscape Architecture Magazine, Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, Computer Graphics and Applications, and others.
As the founding chairman of the American Society of Landscape Architects' (ASLA) Open Committee on Computers in Landscape Architecture and a Fellow of the ASLA, he holds a Master's degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a PhD in Urban Studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Thomas Fisher is a Professor and Dean of the College of Design at the University of Minnesota. Educated at Cornell University in architecture and Case Western Reserve University in intellectual history, he was the Editorial Director of Progressive Architecture magazine.
He has written 45 book chapters or introductions, over 250 articles, and seven books: In the Scheme of Things: Alternative Thinking on the Practice of Architecture; Salmela Architect; Lake/Flato Buildings and Landscapes; Architectural Design and Ethics; Ethics for Architects; The Invisible Element of Place: The Architecture of David Salmela; and Fracture Critical: How to Stop Designing Our Way to Disasters
Douglas holds a Doctor of Design degree from Harvard University, a Master of Landscape Architecture degree from the University of Manitoba and a Diploma in Forest Technology. A landscape architect and planner with over 25 years experience, Douglas specializes in multi-scale, spatially explicit land use planning and design.
He has served as an instructor at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and is an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Environmental Design at the University of Calgary. He is a member of the Canadian and American Societies of Landscape Architects and the International Association of Landscape Ecology. He has worked in Africa, Central America, Colombia, China, Mongolia, and Slovenia, as well as throughout the United States and Canada.
As President of O2 Planning + Design, Douglas directs the firm's work in landscape architecture, urban design, integrated land use planning, spatial modeling and landscape ecology. O2's plans and designs are inspired by the intersection of ecology, culture and art, and are founded on local understanding, science, advanced technology, interdisciplinary collaboration and creative inspiration.
Carl Steinitz, Alexander and Victoria Wiley Professor of Landscape Architecture and Planning Emeritus, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, has devoted much of his career to improving methods of landscape planning and design. Professor Steinitz has organized and taught collaborative, multidisciplinary, semester-long studios and many one- to four-day workshops on large and complex landscape change problems for more than 40 years at Harvard and at many other universities.
His interests are reflected in his teaching and research on landscape change, methods of landscape analysis, visual quality assessment, and design methodologies. In 1984, he received the Outstanding Educator Award of the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture; he also received the 1996 Distinguished Practitioner Award from the International Association for Landscape Ecology (U.S.A.). He has been honored as an outstanding teacher by Harvard University.
Paul Zwick, Ph.D. is the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Affairs at the University of Florida’s College of Design, Construction and Planning. He is the Director of the School of Landscape Architecture and Planning, Director of the College Doctoral Programs, and has directed the GeoPlan Center, a research center for spatial analysis and studies, for the past 15 years.
His research and community service has resulted in the development of the “Florida Geographic Data Library”, the “Cross Florida Greenways” plan, the “State of Florida Greenways” plan, and initially the “State of Florida ETDM” (Efficient Transportation Decision Model) project. He has been or is currently an advisor to the Florida Departments of Transportation, Community Affairs, Environmental Protection and the Office of Greenways and Trails.
He is one of two managing co-editors for the Journal of Conservation Planning. Finally Dr. Zwick is a co-author with Margaret Carr for a book titled “Smart Land-Use Analysis: the LUCIS Model” ESRI Press, March 2007.