2018 Associates Award Recipient
The AIA Associates Award is given to individual Associate AIA members to recognize outstanding leaders and creative thinkers for significant contributions to their communities and the architecture profession.
Deeply engaged in building resilient communities, Gail Kubik, Assoc. AIA, is an advocate for programmatic development that equips design professionals to better serve as stewards of urban environments. Her commitment demonstrates that the profession can and should lead the way in rebuilding communities in need.
A native of Queens, New York, Kubik was profoundly affected by Superstorm Sandy and left the security of her architectural internship to immerse herself in New York’s hardest-hit outer borough communities. For more than two months, she performed damage assessment evaluations for the city and captured the stories of residents living in Red Cross shelters. Later, Kubik joined Architecture for Humanity as its coastal hazard mitigation specialist, convinced the organization to establish a regional field office in New York, and served as its design fellow.
“She immersed herself in that tumultuous world and from it discovered both her discipline and breadth,” wrote Maurice Finegold, FAIA, senior principal of Finegold Alexander Architects, where Kubik is now an architectural designer. “Gail's receptiveness to taking risks allowed her to experience opportunities most other practitioners would not encounter at the associate's level.”
In 2013, when post-Sandy rebuilding efforts were largely stalled, Kubik co-created the Sandy Design Help Desk from which—through a series of pop-up shops—residents and business owners could seek design services. In 2014 AIA New York honored the program and its collaborators with a special citation for establishing a long-term community-based planning infrastructure post-Sandy.
Today, in Massachusetts where she lives and works, Kubik promotes the development of community-driven advisory boards to assess climatic risks and institute policies to support community resilience. And as a member of the AIA’s 2017 National Disaster Assistance Program Communications Task Force, she helped create a series of guides to introduce stakeholders to the AIA Disaster Assistance Handbook and produced content for the AIA’s Digital Transformations website.
“As a member of the Disaster Assistance Committee for the past three years and very active in the preparation of the latest edition of the Disaster Assistance Handbook, I have had the opportunity to review and comment on these guides while working with Gail,” wrote John A. Robinson, AIA, in a letter supporting Kubik’s nomination for the AIA Associates Award. “I believe her passion for resilience forms an integral part of AIA National’s effort to inform the public and the profession of the Institute’s goals in this vital area.”
Kubik’s work embodies the generous, socially minded spirit that designers aspire to bring to every project they work on. Her actions prove that architecture can improve community spaces and, more importantly, provide hope to residents.