The Greater Ohio Living Architecture Center of Excellence

The Greater Ohio Living Architecture (GOLA) center provides a gateway for interested people to connect to the fields of living architecture and green infrastructure by offering teaching and a community of discovery exploring advanced conceptualization and informed experimentation. The mission of GOLA is to promote and advance the teaching and research of living architecture.

The 11.6 million people in the State of Ohio are distributed across five major markets: Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Toledo and Akron/Canton. Ohio is home to numerous roofing and living architecture manufacturing companies, as well as to many startups. To cover the region’s needs, GOLA is a consortium-based center of three institutions: Kent State University (Kent/Cleveland, OH); University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH); and Heidelberg University (Tiffin, OH), partnering with Green Roofs for Healthy Cities to enable resources for pedagogy, research, and advocacy linking to the greater Ohio profession, industry, and trade.

The center consists of 19 design and science faculty, working collaboratively on over a dozen research and studio projects and initiatives. Current research initiatives include:

  • Biodiversity Roofs and Living Architecture: Transference and interpretation of novel ecosystems in the Great Lakes (rock prairies, shale barrens, creek slumps, gravel bars, bluff rims, and ledges, for urban and coastal wildlife habitat.

  • The status of research and pedagogy in living architecture: The inventory and analysis of current research, funding sources, course work, theses, and other academic aspects of living architecture.

  • River Dredge reuse/recycle: New light weight growing media made with Cuyahoga and Maumee River dredge has been lab tested and currently under field trials. Various mix combinations are targeted for specific ecosystems services.

  • Rare Plant Re-introduction study: The re-introduction of extirpated and endangered plants: Solidago ptarmicoides and Viola peditifida.

  • Design Decision Tool: A prototype communications tool has been developed to aid interdisciplinary teams identify, design, and select green infrastructure and living architecture. Currently in beta testing and will be in market 2019-20.

  • Substrate Ecology: Roof soil biota and community ecology characterizations (bacteria and fungi) and the relationship to ecological services. Ohio and Great Lakes Region, Published results expected 2019-21.

  • Substrate Design, Biochar: Testing the effects of the incorporation of biochar into green roof substrate, on plant vitality and productivity, runoff water quality, and the retention of water and nutrients.

  • Substrate Design, Organic Matter: How does the amount and type of organic matter in the substrate influence the long-term health of the plant community, and other ecosystem services provided by green roofs?

  • Design and development of pneumatic green wall: Conceptualization and testing of multi-patent project on a self-inflating interior culinary wall.

  • Block and Building scale Heat Stress: Data and thermal modeling of extreme heat events and green infrastructure and living architecture’s role in moderation of human thermal comfort and health risks.

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