Deborah Gans is the founder and principal architect of Gans studio, a small firm in Red Hook. Her firm's projects include architecture, industrial design, and community-based urban planning, where she frequently tackles extreme sites and programs. Through writing, design research and inventive public advocacy, Deborah has spearheaded the revitalization of socially responsible architecture for a new generation.
Educated at Princeton at a moment of withdrawal from the social realm into post-modern autonomy, Gans has spent her career seeking new forms for architecture’s social participation and engagement. From her masters’ thesis for a workers’ club in a shrinking post-industrial town to her current involvement in coastal resiliency, she has had tremendous impact on the contemporary community-based design movement. Much of Gans’ design work focuses on the challenges of housing, especially in relation to the underserved, where she has used her design speculation as a platform for policy change and the revitalization of communities.
Her public presentations range from local community visioning sessions to speeches on the international stage including Rome, Ulm, and Oxford. To impress her design concerns on the largest possible audience, she writes for both scholarly and popular publications and serves as Board Member for PLACES/Design Observer and the Institute for Public Architecture, Contributing Editor for BOMB magazine and Advisory Board Member for the Italian journal Boundaries.
Deborah has taught for over 25 years, and is the Director of Research, Professor and former Chair of the Undergraduate School of Architecture at Pratt Institute. Recipient of the 2014 AIANYS Educator Award, Deborah has forged new alliances between planning and architecture generating student work that has life beyond the studio.
Cristina Zubillaga is an architectural designer and project manager at Gans studio, where she runs a series of single-family residential projects in the city and beyond. She is currently managing the design of coastal housing prototypes for the City's Build it Back project, as well as a prefabricated workforce housing development in East Hampton.
Her education in construction management as well as architecture gives her a well-rounded grasp of the complexities of the construction process and its administration. In her previous employment she contributed her keen graphic sense and design expertise to large-scale projects, including the Florida International University Downtown Campus.
Roz is a project manager at Gans studio in charge of community-based urban planning. Her background in anthropology gives her a deep understanding of how communities work, while her graduate degree in Urban Environmental Systems provides the technical expertise required to ensure they are resilient and sustainable.
Prior to joining the firm, Roz worked in various non-profit organizations around New York City, focusing on the environmental and social equity of public space and services. Roz has worked closely with community groups as well as government officials and is adept at analyzing, visualizing and presenting complex information for every audience and for all of Gans studio's projects.
She is currently managing a series of neighborhood-scale rebuilding studies for the City's Housing Recovery Office.
Originally from Amman, Jordan, Jomana is currently a Gans studio architect and urban designer. She has worked on various design and development projects throughout the MENA region and Europe. Her work includes urban master planning in the UAE, Yemen, Iraq, and Libya with a focus on urban regeneration and linking segregated communities.
Jomana is a Fulbright Foreign Exchange Graduate Scholar.
Allen Gillers designs playfully transgressive, accessible civic engagements, with an eye towards the fluorescent and absurd. Gillers received an M.Arch. from University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and a B.A. in architecture from Columbia University. He was the 2014-2015 Michigan-Mellon Design Fellow at the University of Michigan working at a variety of scales to recalibrate the architect’s role in Detroit’s urban revitalization, as an agent of equitable design for change. Allen is Gans studio's lead project architect for the City's Build it Back program, managing and designing the rebuilding of homes affected by Superstorm Sandy.
Swati is a Gans studio project architect and Urban Designer, and is currently working on rebuilding and retrofitting substantially damaged houses in Sheepshead bay.
She holds master degree in urban design from University of California Berkeley and a bachelor degree in architecture from India. She has previously worked in various multi- disciplinary organizations in India for six years and is a LEED accredited professional with Indian Green Building Council.