Kent State to Co-Lead New Center of Living Architecture; E-Inside; October 11, 2018

At the 16th Annual CitiesAlive Conference recently held in New York City, a consortium of Ohio universities was selected as one of the first four North American regional centers of living architecture by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities and the Green Infrastructure Foundation.

Faculty from Kent State University will join colleagues from the University of Cincinnati and Heidelberg University to lead the Greater Ohio Living Architecture Center (GOLA), which will be dedicated to the study of integrating vegetation within and upon buildings as novel ecosystems. The center will work with vegetated roof and wall industries in research and training activities for the Great Lakes and Ohio region through meetings, academic symposia and professional training across the three university campuses over the next three years.   

“The GOLA Center lays the foundation for cutting edge research, innovation and creative thought for Ohio faculty, students and industry professionals who are in the pursuit of developing environmentally responsible and ecologically productive cities,” says Paul E. DiCorleto, Ph.D., Kent State’s vice president for research and sponsored programs. “The efforts here will impact North America and the world.”

The Greater Ohio Living Architecture Center will be led by the new executive director, Reid Coffman, Ph.D., associate professor of the College of Architecture and Environmental Design at Kent State.

“This is a great opportunity for Kent State, its faculty and its students to collaborate with academic colleagues and the growing number of professionals and businesses involved in the field of living architecture,” Dr. Coffman says.

Faculty from both Kent State’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design and the College of Arts and Sciences will participate to provide a multidisciplinary setting of investigation and communication around the growing discipline.

“Understanding buildings as living operational systems nested within and leveraging natural phenomena is key to next-generation sustainable approaches to how we build and live,” says Mark Mistur, dean of the College of Architecture and Environmental Design at Kent State. “Applying biological approaches to the design, construction, inhabitation and operation of buildings will transform our buildings and cities, as well as the way our students and faculty approach designing them.”

“The Centers of Living Architecture will support the development of living architecture research, professional training and policy development at a regional level,” says Matt Barmore, chair of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities. “These centers will facilitate the interaction between academics, industry and policy in ways that better address regional environmental, market place, regulatory and climatological reality.“

“The centers will build upon much of the work in living architecture already underway and set the stage for new developments in research and innovation, while helping students prepare to enter this growing discipline,” Dr. Coffman says.

Associate faculty from Kent State include Christopher Blackwood, Ph.D., Department of Biological Sciences; Diane Davis-Sikora, College of Architecture and Environmental Design; Adil Sharag-Eldin, Ph.D., College of Architecture and Environmental Design; Greg Stroh, College of Architecture and Environmental Design; Rui Lui, Ph.D, College of Architecture and Environmental Design; Christie Bahlai, Ph.D., Department of Biological Sciences; Anne Jefferson, Ph.D., Department of Geology; and John Gerrath, Department of Biological Sciences.

For more information about research at Kent State, visit

For more information about Kent State’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design, visit


POSTED: Thursday, October 11, 2018 12:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday, March 22, 2023 05:46 AM