Hui Cai

Hui Cai
  • Professor of Architecture
  • Chair, Department of Architecture

Contact Info


Dr. Hui Cai is a Professor and the Chair of the Department of Architecture, and Director of Research of the Institute of Health and Wellness Design at the University of Kansas. Prior to joining KU, she served as the Health + Science research leader and designer at CallisonRTKL Associates in Dallas. Cai received her Ph.D. degree 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 and healthy communities. Her research activities include conducting post-occupancy evaluations (POE) on healthcare facilities and other buildings. Dr. Cai combines various analytical tools in her research, such as space syntax analysis, Discrete Event Simulation, and behavioral mappings analytical tools, to 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.

Cai disseminates her work extensively through numerous publications in academic journals. Her work in healthcare research has received several awards, including the International Academy Award for Best Research project and AIA-AAH/AAH Foundation Burgun Fellowship. She is recently named as 2021 HCD 10 Healthcare Design Educator. In 2022, she received the Inaugural Wilbur H (Tib) Tusler, Jr. Health Design Research Prize, awarded by the Foundation for Health Environments Research. She also served on the Board of Directors for the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA).