Mengni ZhangAssistant Professor of Design Studies

As a multidisciplinary design researcher, my goal is to help improve our everyday life qualities by leveraging and enhancing the ambient environments. Academically, my research focuses on understanding human-environment relations through building and testing assistive technologies embedded in architectural spaces, especially for independent living purposes.

Professionally, as a licensed architect, my focus is on hospital design and planning. I believe the intersection between health care architecture and human-robot interaction brings exciting new potentials in creating interactive, adaptive environments with a health and wellness agenda. This research direction in human-built environment interaction also forms the basis for my teaching, which involves crafting interdisciplinary classes to bring together students across campus.

As we embrace and adapt to global changes with new technologies, specifically within the context of the built environment, how can we envision new ways architecture can also become animated, responsive, and therapeutic to enable us to live healthier, more sustainable lives?

Selected Publications

Zhang, M., & Green, K. E. (2024). Understanding Domestic Organizational Behaviors and Improving Life Quality with A Multi-Robot Wall-Climbing Organizer System, Routledge Companion to Smart Design Thinking in Architecture & Urbanism for a Sustainable Living Planet. Routledge. In press.

Zhang, M., Xu, T., Hardin, J., Jiaqi Cai, J., Brooks, J., & Green, K. E. (2021). How Many Robots Do You Want? A Cross-Cultural Exploration on User Preference and Perception of an Assistive Multi-Robot System. 2021 30th IEEE International Conference on Robot & Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN), 580-585.

Zhang, M., Dewey, C., & Kalantari, S. (2020). Dynamic Anthropometric Modeling Interface (DAMI): A Kinect-Based Anthropometric Modeling Work Process for Patient Room Layout Optimization and Nurse Posture Evaluation. In proceeding of ACADIA 2020 Distributed Proximities, 1, 110-119.

For a full list of publications, see Zhang’s CV.

Featured Media

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  • Design Studies

Degree Program

  • BS Interior Architecture
  • MFA Human Ecology: Design Studies


  • PhD, Human Behavior and Design, Cornell University
  • MDes, Resilient Urban Planning, Harvard University
  • BArch, Architecture, Cornell University


Office: 3132 Nancy Nicholas Hall

Phone: 608-262-7319