Knowledge grows from interdisciplinary power. 

Coffman head shot 2018.jpg

Reid Coffman, Director

Dr. Coffman challenges the conventional understanding of infrastructure and architecture.  Known for an incremental approach to knowledge building, he works in both design and science arenas to advance botanically informed architecture and infrastructure.  He is a leading thinker in field of living architecture and active researcher of green infrastructure. 

In the lab, Dr. Coffman assist with major projects and endeavors and helps students of all disciplines (architecture, landscape architecture, biology, geology, chemistry, urban design, engineering, etc.) find venues of study. When he is not working you might find him bicycling through the Chagrin River valley. 



Lama Tawk, Graduate Researcher, Lab manager

Lama, MLA/PhD student and researcher, is a part of the team investigating the translation of native plants onto vegetated roofs systems.  With her love of plants she is identifying and starting moss mats from different local species. When she isn't working she is exploring Cleveland and Akron's trails and designing gardens.

Anna Droze, Graduate Researcher 

Anna, a doctoral student in biology, is exploring the role of soil organisms in movable green infrastructure.  She aims to understand the ways in which soil biota influences the supply and trade-offs of ecological services in a constructed ecosystem.  She is affiliated with the lab via Kent's Soil Microbial Lab. 

Project News


Katherine Manning, Graduate Researcher

Katherine, a doctoral student in biology, studying insect diversity in thin soil environments in the Great Lakes Region, including both natural and built environments (i.e. greenroofs). When she is not in the lab or in the field, you will find Katty on one of the Great Lake’s shorelines or taking care of her awesome pet beetles.


Macy Nelson, Graduate Researcher

Macy is investigating the types of vegetation that can establish on recycled river dredge sediments. In collaboration with the Lake Erie Protection Fund and a team of material scientists and architects, Macy is testing vegetation palettes for roofs systems made with sintered (baked) river sediments.  For fun you will find Macy in her backyard greenhouse with her son.


Alan Brooker, Graduate Researcher

Alan is a student in the Master of Sciences in Architecture and Enviornmental Design studying living architecture.



Meghan Blackson, Graduate Researcher

Meghan is a student in the Master of Sciences in Architecture and Enviornmental Design studying living architecture.

Diane Davis-Sikora, Associate Professor

Professor Davis-Sikora is exploring future structural and programmatic integrations of interior living walls.  From her studio design background she is leading investigations into dynamic and kinetic living walls by examining the potential of tensile and biotensegrity based structures to deploy alternative forms of living architecture.  When Diane isn't teaching or prepare for an exhibit, you might find her enjoying the Akron Ohio arts scene. 


Rui Liu, Assistant Professor

Dr. Liu leads the lab on investigations concerning materials, structures, and life cycle analyses. As a materials expert he brings an innovate perspective to the futures of structural materials including light weight aggregates.  His leadership on the perspective of using recycling river dredge sediments has opened a range of discovery on reuse and recycling.  We he is not in the lab, he is at home chasing after his boys.