Dr. Hui Cai is the Associate Professor and Associate Director of the Institute of Health and Wellness Design at the School of Architecture and Design. Prior to joining the faculty, she taught at the University of Missouri, Columbia. She also served as the Health + Science research leader and designer at RTKL Associates in Dallas. Cai received her Ph.D. degree in evidence-based design from the Georgia Institute of Technology after several years of architectural education and practice in China and Singapore.
She has strong interests in cross-cultural studies on healthcare design. Her dissertation was the first of its kind, exploring the cultural dimensions of nursing unit designs under a holistic framework encompassing the national and organizational culture of healthcare. It provides a comprehensive comparison between the U.S. and Chinese nursing unit typologies with quantitative metrics through space syntax analysis.
Dr. Cai's current research focus is using a performance-driven and evidence-based design approach to analyze the relationship between culture, human behavior, and the physical environment, especially in healthcare settings. Her research activities include conducting post-occupancy evaluations (POE) on healthcare facilities and other buildings.
She proposes that rigorous analytical tools including Space Syntax Analysis and Discrete Event Simulation can link the physical environment with human behavior and organizational performance with quantifiable metrics. The goal is to use the knowledge from POE and analysis on existing design practices to inform future design recommendations and guidelines.
She has both presented at several international conferences and published several papers in peer-reviewed journals on the relationship between culture, human behavior and physical environment. In 2011, the International Academy of Design and Health recognized her with the prestigious International Academy Award in Research for her work in linking spatial configurations of nursing units with communication and coordination among care givers.
Cai's goal for teaching students is closely related to her evidence-based design research endeavors. She focuses on developing students' critical thinking capabilities and their consciousness of the links between architecture, behavior, and culture.
- Evidence-based Design
- Healthcare design
- Health and wellness
- Healthcare design
- Evidence-based design
- Performance-driven design
- Cross-cultural research
Selected Awards & Honors
American Institute of Architecture-Academy of Healthcare Architecture (AIA-AHA)
2018 - 2019
Union of International Architects-Public Health Group (UIA-PHG) Young Architects and Students Design International Competition 2017
Center for Teaching Excellence
Nanjing Tech University, China
Design & Health International Academy
The Center for Health Design and The Contract Magazine
2018 - Present