04-29-14

Bike Box | Living Roof Lab

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The Bike Box Living Lab was headed by Dr. Reid Coffman who brought together a team of CUDC graduate students consisting of Claire Markwardt, Neil Reindel, Josh Thomas, and Pasquale Esposito to explore design and experiment concepts that would be tested on the flagship bike box at Gordon Square adjacent to Happy Dog. With help from local fabricators, Rustbelt Welding, the bike box was prepared for conversion into the first bike box with a green roof in Cleveland, and now the site of the Living Labs exploration in soil compositions effects on water quality.

The Bike Box represents existing concepts re-imagined in the exploration of point source water mitigation and filtration. With water quality being a prevalent issue in many cities including Cleveland, The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District granted funding that spurred the Bike Box Living Lab concept to be explored within the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative.

 

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The roof itself is divided into two separate zones; the first being a control side, the second implementing mycorrhizae to test its ability to increase productivity of native species while reducing nutrient and runoff discharge. Mycorrhizae, are natural occurring soil fungus which form symbiotic associations with the roots of vascular plants. In a mycorrhizal association, the fungus colonizes the host plant’s roots, and aides in the plant’s uptake of water and nutrients.

Runoff water from the roof is collected into two separate tanks storing water separately from the two experimental zones of the roof. This provides the ability to test water quality improvements that result from the use of mycorrhizae. A pump is connected into the storing tanks allowing the collected water to be reused as the roof irrigation system. This hand pump is placed in an easily accessible location which allows the public to directly interact with the roof itself.

The project was made possible by sponsorship from Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District and performed in cooperation with LANDstudio.

Dr. Reid Coffman and the CUDC have committed to studying the roof for 10 years. Beginning this summer they will be recording water and planter interactions that will be studied over the long-term. A summary of the project and the initial findings will be presented by the students at this year’s CitiesAlive Conference in Nashville, TN November 12-15, 2014.

For more information and a detailed description of the Bike Box Living Lab download the project sheet here.

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