College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Hui Cai

School of Architecture, Design & Planning - Architecture
Assistant Professor
Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology
Primary office:
Marvin Hall
Room 112
University of Kansas
1465 Jayhawk Blvd
Lawrence, KS 66045

Dr. Hui Cai is the Assistant Professor of Health and Wellness Program at the School of Architecture Design, and Planning. 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.


Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology

M.A., Architecture, National University of Singapore

B.Arch, with highest honor, Southeast University


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.

Teaching Interests

  • Evidence-based Design
  • Healthcare design
  • Health and wellness

Research Interests

  • Healthcare design
  • Evidence-based design
  • Performance-driven design
  • Communication
  • Cross-cultural research

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CEAS offers an M.A. program in Contemporary East Asian Studies.This interdisciplinary degree focused on 20th and 21st century East Asia provides students with in-depth interdisciplinary knowledge of a selected East Asian country (China, Korea, Japan); a broad knowledge of modern East Asia; and social science research skills and methods appropriate to international area studies. Read more about the CEAS M.A. Program, or contact Ayako Mizumura, CEAS Assistant Director, at or 785-864-1478.

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