Mona Ghandi, an assistant professor of architecture, is the recipient of a Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise.

The prize, which includes a $50,000 cash award, recognizes young immigrants who demonstrate exceptional promise in their careers. Ghandi is among eight recipients of this year’s Vilcek prizes, which are intended to call attention to the breadth of immigrant contributions to the American arts and sciences.

Born in Iran, her research focus is based on an emerging field known as computational design, a data-driven approach to architecture that aims to make buildings better tailored and more responsive to environmental cues. Ghandi has applied this approach in correlation with biofeedback data, aspiring to make buildings more attuned to the psychology of their occupants.

By customizing architecture to take into account the wellness of those who use it, she hopes to make what she calls “compassionate spaces.” Her work has been published widely and exhibited internationally, including at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2012.

Ghandi earned a Bachelor of Architecture at the University of Tehran. She worked in private practice in Iran before moving to the United States, when she enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley, to pursue a Master of Architecture. She has also held teaching positions at the University of California, Berkeley; Ohio University; and San Jose State University. She joined the faculty at WSU in 2016.

More about the Vilcek Prize can be found at the organization’s website.

Below is a video feature Ghandi and her research interests.