Our Evidence-Based Design Research What Sets us Above the Rest

Our faculty engage in research on lighting, technology, healthcare, history and material culture that integrate new insights and knowledge into the undergraduate program. We have a robust graduate program that allows us to expand our faculty with many strong graduate students with practice expertise, expertise in lighting, or in allied fields that enrich the program. A strong commitment to research unifies the faculty and informs the teaching of studios and support classes across the curriculum. Faculty easily reference peer-reviewed research in support classes and studios and train students in pre-design research in three upper division studios. Our research orientation enhances the creative process and informs resulting solutions, and it also helps define the identity of our program.

Engage Design Lab

Our Engage Design Lab works with real clients on and off campus to create solutions.

Faculty Research

Our faculty are engaged in research in color, lighting, virtual reality, technology, hospitality, healthcare, history and materials.

Dr. Sheila Bosch
Dr. Sheila Bosch

My personal experience as a cancer patient showed me that environmental design has the capacity to influence how we think and feel about our circumstances and how we behave in the spaces we occupy. For more than two decades, I have tenaciously sought to understand how healthcare and educational spaces might be designed to enhance human performance and well-being. Healthcare environments serve a wide range of patients of all ages, from birth to the very end of life, including the most vulnerable among us and those providing care. My research has investigated both inpatient and outpatient settings, such as intensive care units, medical-surgical units, emergency departments, behavioral health units, skilled nursing facilities and patient-centered medical homes. With regard to the design of learning environments, I have examined both K-12 and higher education settings with the goal of improving the experience of teachers and students.

Research has demonstrated that the physical environment is an important contributor to one’s experience in healthcare settings and can be an important tool for improving patient, family, and staff wellbeing. Working with diverse collaborators, we have investigated staff perceptions regarding the benefits of single-family neonatal intensive care unit design, family presence and family-to-patient interactions in an intensive care unit designed to support patient and family-engaged care, the influence of visibility on other health-related outcomes, and how design can improve the care experience for Veterans with mental health needs.

  • McGee, B. (g), Park, N-K, Portillo, M., Bosch, S. J.,& Swisher, M. (2019). DIY biophilia: Development of the biophilic interior design matrix as a design tool. Journal of Interior Design(published in early view September 14, 2019). doi:10.1111/joid.12159
  • Bosch, S. J., & Lorusso (g), L. (2019). Promoting patient and family engagement through healthcare facility design: A systematic literature review. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 62:74-83. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2019.02.002
  • Lorusso, L. (g), & Bosch, S. J. (2018). Impact of multi-sensory environments on behavior for people with dementia: A systematic literature review. The Gerontologist, 58(3): e169-e178. doi: 10.1093/geront/gnw168 
  • Bosch, S. J., Apple, M., Hiltonen, E., Worden, E., Lu, Y., Nanda, U. & Kim, D. (2016). To see or not to see: Investigating the links between patient visibility and potential moderators affecting the patient experience. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 47:33-43. doi: 1016/j.jenvp.2016.04.013
  • Platt, L., Bosch, S. J. & Kim, D. (2017). Towards a framework for designing person-centered mental health interiors for Veterans. Journal of Interior Design, advance access publication on February 7, 2017. doi: 1111/joid.12095
  • Lu, Y., Cai, H., & Bosch, S. J. (2016). Key spatial factors influencing the perceived privacy in nursing units: An exploration study with eight nursing units in Hong Kong. Health Environments Research & Design Journal. doi: 1177/1937586716672857

Globally, the population of persons 65 and older is on the rise. As we age, we often experience declining physical and cognitive performance, but improving the design of the physical environment may support our ability to live safely and with dignity. Our research has challenged the use of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility requirements in situations where older adults need assistance transferring on and off of the toilet, and we have identified wayfinding strategies that can improve the travel experience for older adults.

  • Bosch, S. J., & Gharaveis, A. (2017). Flying solo: A review of the literature on wayfinding for older adults experiencing visual or cognitive decline. Applied Ergonomics, 58:327-333. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2016.07.010

There is a growing body of evidence demonstrating that the design of learning environments influences teaching and learning outcomes, including academic success. Our recent work, funded by the American Society of Interior Designers, explored how mixed-use learning environments in higher education settings can support both individual and collaborative activities, as well as structured classes, with a particular focus on the millennial generation.We found evidence that helped explain the transformation of learning environments on campus. To share these insights, we proposed the “Mixed-Use Learning Environments Typology” that captures the impact of transformations we are seeing in these types of environments.

  • Tanner, C. K., & Bosch, S. J.(2020). Chapter 4.4, Influences of school layout and design on student achievement. In Anderman, E. and Hattie, J. (Eds.), The International Guide to Student Achievement. New York: Routledge.
  • Kim, D. (g), Bosch, S. J., & Lee, J-H (2020). Alone with others: A dialectical interplay of college students’ needs and preferences at a University library. The Journal of Academic Librarianship. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2019.102098

Dr. Erin Cunningham
Dr. Erin Cunningham

Dr. Cunningham’s specific research, published in both peer reviewed and invited papers, focuses on the history and preservation of 19th and 20th century interior spaces, including social settlement houses, vernacular architecture, and public housing interiors. In both teaching and research, Erin explores interior space from a socio-historical perspective, drawing on disciplinary knowledge from interior design, historic preservation, and design history.

My investigations into preservation, history, and professionalism are shaped by my interests in interior spaces and everyday life. I write about the preservation of the Hull House Settlement – arguably the most famous settlement houses in America. In the 1960s, all but two of its 13 buildings were demolished and the remaining Hull House mansion was transformed into a house museum. The preservation of Hull House was hotly contested, and invigorated a national audience. This research forms the basis of my current book project where I emphasize the importance of everyday stakeholders – their words, ordeals and recollections – in the preservation of the interior environment. In addition to the preservation of Hull House, I also examine the historical development of interiors. In a current, interdisciplinary, project, titled “A Vernacular of Pain: The Architecture of New York’s Lower East Side,” I examine how pain was used to organize and map the spaces of New York’s Lower East Side in the 1890s. Finally, my investigations into the preservation and history of the interior environment have inspired me to questions about the nature of the interior design profession, and how the practice of design is constituted and shaped from below.    

  • Cunningham, Erin. “Interiors, Histories, and the Preservation of Chicago’s Hull House Settlement.” Buildings & Landscapes: Journal of the Vernacular Architecture Forum 23, no. 2 (Fall 2016): 53-64. (open review)
  • “Ruling on the Profession: Interior Design in the Courts,” Journal of Interior Design 40 (2), 25-35 (June 2015).
  • Bringing the Past In: Narrative Inquiry and the Preservation of Historic Interiors,” In The Handbook of Interior Design, edited by Jo An Asher Thompson and Nancy Blossom, 70-94. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, 2015.
  • “Navigating the Past: What does History Offer the Discipline of Interior Design? Journal of Interior Design 39 (3), v-xii.
  • “(Re)interpreting the Hull House,” Design Thinking for Interiors, by Joy H. Dohr & Margaret Portillo. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 2011.
  • Renovating an Industry:’ Interior Design in Times of Recession,” Interiors: Design, Architecture, Culture 1 (1-2), 91-104 (2010).

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Professor Jason Meneely
Professor Jason Meneely

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  • Portillo, M. & Meneely, J. (2015). Toward a Creative Ecology of Workplace Design. In N. Blossom and J. Asher-Thompson (eds). The Blackwell Handbook of Interior Design. UK: Blackwell Publishing. 
  • Ferguson, N. & Meneely, J. (2015). Springboards and Barriers to Creative Risk-Taking and Resolve in Undergraduate Interior Design Studios. Journal of Interior Design. 40 (4), 17-40.
  • Chung, S. & Meneely, J. (2012). Profiling Group Dynamics within Business and Design Student Teams: Relationships among Problem Solving Styles, Personality Traits, and Creative Design Performance. Journal of Interior Design. 37 (3), 23-46.
  • Meneely, J. (2010). Educating Adaptable Minds: How Diversified are the Thinking Preferences of Interior Design Students? Journal of Interior Design.35 (3), 21-32.
  • Meneely, J. & Portillo, M. (2005). The Adaptable Mind in Design: Relating Personality, Cognitive Style, and Creative Performance. Creativity Research Journal. 17 (2 & 3), 155-166.    

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Genesis Okken

Genesis Okken’s research interests include exploring how design practitioners develop appropriate color designs across different market sectors and how color planning strategies evolve throughout an individuals’ career. She also investigates how professional practice can inform better ways to incorporate critical color knowledge and understanding into design pedagogy.  

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Dr.Nam KyuPark,UFInteriorDesignAssociateProfessor
Dr. Nam-Kyu Park

The overarching mission of Dr. Park’s research is to optimize well-being, health, and human behavior through the design of the built environment. Under this umbrella, her research has developed into four content areas including lighting environments, environmental design for special needs populations, effect of culture on design, and sustainable design. These interlocking themes build upon each other to holistically understand the broader spectrum of human-environment relationships within the built environment. Theories of environment-behavior and social psychology thread together in her research program, which employs a mixed methods design. Building on a human-centered approach, her lighting research has extended to study on supportive and inclusive environments, through the lens of focusing on the needs of diverse populations including immigrants, the elderly, at-risk newborns, persons with ADHD, and children through adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders

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Dr. Lisa Platt
Dr. Lisa Platt

As the Interior Design department faculty and research representative for the University of Florida’s College of Design Construction and Planning Florida Institute for Built Environment Resilience (FIBER: https://dcp.ufl.edu/fiber/), Dr. Platt is driven by the idea of how we can design and build systems that better support the humans using them. Her career as a licensed healthcare designer and operational improvement analyst has been to discover ways thoughtfully applied translational research can elicit practical innovation for improving human and systems resilience. Her current research focus is on using Resilience Inference Systems as a framework for risk prevention through the planning and design of healthcare and other types of safety-critical environments. The primary purpose of this research is to explore the potentials that Systems Science methods have in informing reliable “Prevention through Design” strategies for improving environments meant to support population health, human safety, and wellbeing. 

The term resilience in the context of design is the ability of a system to anticipate, forecast, manage, and avoid hazards and threats to its primary performance goals. In safety-critical human activity settings the ability of environmental systems to respond adaptively to both anticipated and unforeseen risks inside and outside their basis of design are critical for sustainable operational success. 

  • Platt, L.S. (2020) Chapter 9: Designing for Resilience. Design for Health1st Edition Applications of Human Factors. Edited by Sethumadhavan A. and Sasangohar, Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Elsevier.
  • Platt, L. S., & Greene, M. (2017, July). Increasing Patient Safety Through Resilient Design: Using Human Factors Engineering and Environmental Support Mechanisms to Reduce Potentials of Hospital Acquired Infection. International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics(pp. 3-10). Springer, Cham.  

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“Designing for Safety,” as defined by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP; formally ASSE), advocates that approaches using “state of the art [systems] engineering and management” be used when planning safety-critical systems (ANSI/ASSE, 2016). Combining Systems Science-based tools to inform environmental planning strategies can help to subvert system optimization barriers and predict the success of design intervention outcomes upstream of implementation. 

  • Platt Lisa S. Provisional Patent: Resilience Inference System for Performance Safety (RISPS) Process Model. US 62/972,480, United States Patent and Trademark Office, February 2020.
  • Platt, L. S., & Fronczek, A.E. (2020). Using a Fuzzy Framework for applying King’s Theory of Goal Attainment to Improve Hospital Acquired Infection Resilience. Proceedings of the International Symposium on Human Factors and Ergonomics in Health Care(Vol. X, No. X, pp. XX). Sage India: New Delhi, India: SAGE Publications. 

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The construct of Human Factors and Cognitive Ergonomics exists within the knowledge camps of Psychology and Engineering. Design Dependent Parameters for a human, process or a built system planned for human factors must include consideration for the tasks individuals or groups are performing, the environment the tools technologies they are using as well as conditions and people they are engaging with during task performance. 

  • Platt, L. S., Li, H., & Bass, C. E. (2018, April). Evaluating Persuasiveness of Corporate Wellness Web-based learning interfaces. Proceedings of the Technology, Mind, and Society (p. 32). ACM. 
  • Platt, L. S., Li, H., Bass, C. E., & Yu, K. (2018, June). Validating Persuasive Experience (PX) Theory: Preliminary Results of a Case Study on a Corporate Wellness Program’s Web-based Learning Interfaces. Proceedings of the International Symposium on Human Factors and Ergonomics in Health Care (Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 56-63). Sage India: New Delhi, India: SAGE Publications.

The design development of human-centered environments of care is an effort that requires health systems to consider the full-scope of stakeholder and operational system needs. An iterative and holistic method to planning that allows for thorough problem definition along with frameworks that provide bidirectional traceability of “user” (e.g. patient/staff/family) requirements during the conceptual system design phase allow for the identification of potential safety and human interaction gaps to occur concurrent to the environmental planning process.

  • Platt, L. S., Bosch, S. J., & Kim, D. (2017). Toward a Framework for Designing Person‐Centered Mental Health Interiors for Veterans. Journal of Interior Design, 42(2), 27-48.
  • Health Research & Educational Trust. (2016, March). Improving Patient Experience Through the Health Care Physical Environment. Content Contributed by Lisa Platt, et.al. Edited by Kenney, L. and Martin D.  Chicago, IL: Health Research & Educational Trust. Accessed at www.hpoe.org
  • Carter, R. & Platt, L. (2013) Chapter 7: Healing Environment Architecture and Design Conducive to Health. Planetree: The Putting Patients First Field Guide. Edited by Frampton, S., et.al. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Dr. Margaret Portillo
Dr. Margaret Portillo

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  • Portillo, M. & Meneely, J. (2015). Toward a Creative Ecology of Workplace Design. In N. Blossom and J. Asher-Thompson (eds). The Blackwell Handbook of Interior Design. UK: Blackwell Publishing. 
  • Meneely, J. & Portillo, M. (2005). The Adaptable Mind in Design: Relating Personality, Cognitive Style, and Creative Performance. Creativity Research Journal. 17 (2 & 3), 155-166.    

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Dr. Shabboo Valipoor
Dr. Shabboo Valipoor

Shabboo Valipoor, Ph.D., EDAC, studies the impact of the built environment on occupant health and safety. Her specific focus is on healthcare facilities and environments for the elderly. Her research findings have sought to inform policy and practice through peer-reviewed publications and national and international conference presentations. Her ongoing research projects aim to: (1) decrease the risk of patient falls, (2) improve patient flow and minimize overcrowding in emergency departments, and (3) identify effective home modifications for people with movement disorders. Shabboo serves on the North America Chapter of the International Academy for Design and Health Leadership Committee.

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Student Research


All Research

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