Knowledge grows from interdisciplinary power. 


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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. 


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Jessie Hawkins, Graduate Researcher

Jessie, a landscape architecture student, is currently exploring the conceptualization of a co-benefit based stormwater design tool.   In cooperation with the Cleveland Metroparks and student hydrologists and biogeochemists, she is developing an easier way to select and implement green infrastructure.  Also, she is learning about the interactions of nutrient tradeoffs in green roof biodiversity.  When she has free time, it's spent with family and visiting lots of 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

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Reuben Shaw, Graduate Researcher

Reuben 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, Reuben is testing vegetation palettes for roofs systems made with sintered (baked) river sediments.  For fun Reuben makes the most of the culinary capacity of plants. 


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. 


Conner Karakul, Graduate Researcher

Conner, a landscape architecture student,  is investigating the reintroduction viability of rare Ohio plants in vegetated roofs systems.  So far, it seems to be working. Based on European roofs hosting rare species, he is over wintering Viola pedatifida (Praire Vioilet) on a urban bike shelter roof.  From initial collaborations with Landstudio and the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, he plans to examine more species. When he isn't studying he is advocating for Cleveland and visiting art exhibits.  

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. 

Erin Laffay, Graduate Researcher

Erin, a landscape architecture student,  is a part of the team investigating the reintroduction viability of rare Ohio plants in vegetated roofs systems.  With her love of plants she is identifying and starting rare prairie species from seed in green roof mesocosms.   When she isn't studying she is exploring Cleveland's Westside neighborhoods for new discoveries in food, art and plants.