Hui Cai named architecture department chair

The University of Kansas School of Architecture & Design has announced that Hui Cai, associate professor of architecture and associate director of the KU Institute of Health + Wellness Design, has been named the next chair of the Department of Architecture.

Since arriving at KU in 2014, Cai has been integral to the success of the department’s teaching and research missions. As a practicing architect with teaching experience that ranges from working with first-year through doctoral students, she brings a holistic and cross-cultural understanding of architectural education.

Her record of teaching excellence and service to students has been recognized within the school and beyond. Last month, Cai was honored by Healthcare Design Magazine with the 2021 Healthcare Design Educator award.  

As one of the leaders of the KU Institute of Health + Wellness Design, Cai has helped build the institute into a community and industry research asset. In recent years, the institute has worked with companies and communities to improve rural health care access, develop innovative health care facilities and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The institute’s new Health + Wellness Design Studio & Pulse Design Group Simulation Lab is the only facility of its kind in the region.

Cai received a doctorate in evidence-based design from the Georgia Institute of Technology after several years of architectural education and practice in China and Singapore. In 2011, the International Academy for 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 caregivers. Prior to joining the KU faculty, she taught at the University of Missouri, Columbia, and served as the health and science research leader and designer at RTKL Associates in Dallas. 

Her current research focuses on analyzing the relationship among culture, human behavior and the physical environment in health care settings by using performance-driven and evidence-based design.

As chair of the architecture department, Cai will work to leverage existing strengths and locate new opportunities to enhance educational experiences for students.