Chosen from 223 applicants, these 40 young AEC professionals represent the Class of 2012 in Building Design+Construction’s “40 UNDER 40” competition.

March 28, 2012

Gail Borden, AIA, NCARB

Principal | Borden Partnership LLP, Los Angeles
Director, Master of Architecture Program, University of Southern California

Age: 37
BA, BArch, Rice University
MArch, Harvard University Graduate School of Design

AIA Young Architect Award (2011).

Author, Material Precedent: The Typology of Modern Tectonics, Matter: Material Processes in Architectural Production, and Principia: Architectural Principles of Material Form.

Awards: Architecture League of New York’s Young Architect’s Prize (2004), Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) Faculty Design and Research Awards (four times), William Ward Watkins Traveling Fellowship, AIA Certificate of Excellence, the Chillman Prize, and the John Swift Medal in Fine Arts.

Residencies at the Chinati Foundation, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and the MacDowell Colony.

2004-2005 American Collegiate Schools of Architecture/AIA Students New Faculty Teaching Award.

Recipient, 2009 Borchard Fellowship.

Watches 10 movies a week.

Lived in Tehran for four years as a child until the Revolution in 1980.

Descendent of journalist Gail Borden, a surveyor of the city of Houston and the inventor of condensed milk.


Cynthia Dubberley, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Associate/Architect | Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, New Orleans
Age: 36
MArch, Tulane University

Project manager on largest project in the history of Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, the VA Replacement Center in New Orleans, which includes the rehabilitation of a mid-century office building on the National Historic Register, development of a new central energy plant, and adaptive reuse of the 100-year-old Dixie Brewery.

Project architect, L.B. Landry High School, a LEED for Schools Silver project, 2011 AIA Louisiana Honor Award, 2011 AIA Gulf State Merit Award, and 2011 New Orleans Honor Award. 

Designed a house for the Make It Right program in New Orleans’s Lower Ninth Ward.

Chair, Coliseum Square Association, a neighborhood redevelopment committee.

Volunteers for neighborhood beautification and community garden projects.

Brews beer.

Can’t live without: The color purple.

Favorite movie: “The Wizard of Oz.”

Favorite foods: Dark chocolate and foie gras.

Mardi Gras enthusiast: wears a costume and mask, joins in the parades.

Mother once turned down a date with Harrison Ford, before he was famous. Father lost on “Jeopardy.”


Jonathan Racek

Director | PlaygroundIDEAS, Bloomington, Ind.
Age: 39
BA, College of the Holy Cross
MArch, Southern California
Institute of Architecture

Director, PlaygroundIDEAS, a nonprofit organization that trains local people in developing countries to build their own playgrounds; >100 have been constructed, in Cambodia, Peru, and Thailand. Team is responsible for design of low-cost, sustainable, and safe playground and equipment. The playgrounds are constructed using local materials, skills, tools, and ideas.

Lecturer in design studies, Indiana University.

Co-founder and principal for STEW Design Workshop, an architectural and furniture design studio.

Founder, director, and board member, SCI-Arc Arts Outreach, which pairs architectural students with inner-city school children.

Teacher, Teach for America. Taught 37 bilingual Spanish students in Compton, Calif.

Learning to play the banjo.

Bakes a great loaf of bread.

Favorite hobby: hiking.

Favorite movies: “Harold and Maude” and “Rushmore.”

Father was the architect and project director for the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston.


Christopher Eccleston, LEED AP BD+C

Project Manager/Estimator | Gillis Gilkerson, Salisbury, Md.
Age: 30
BS, University of Maryland, Eastern Shore

Responsible for jobs ranging from small office renovations and additions to multi-million-dollar construction projects.

Leads marketing, estimating, and sales decisions for this mid-size general contractor/construction management firm.

Project manager, University of Maryland Eastern Shore Wicomico Hall Renovation ($3.5 million); American Hotel Suites ($5.8 million); Dough Roller Restaurant ($1.2 million); Perdue Farms Corporate Headquarters LEED renovation.

Building Team member, Salisbury (Md.) Fire Department Headquarters.

Pursuing MBA from Salisbury University.

Board of Directors Site Selection Committee Chair, Wicomico County Habitat for Humanity.

Board of Directors, Vision Screening Committee Chair, Salisbury Lions Club.

Participant, Cancer Support Community—Delmarva, Junior Achievement, Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce, Holly Community, Atlantic General Hospital Foundation, and Life Crisis Center.

Navy veteran, nuclear machinist mate.

Can’t live without: the Baltimore Ravens.

Favorite vacation spot: Turks and Caicos.

Favorite food: Chinese spare ribs.


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