Karen Fairbanks

Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Professional Practice in Architecture
Chair of the Department of Architecture

Karen Fairbanks, Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Professional Practice in Architecture and Chair of the Department of Architecture, joined the faculty of Barnard in 1996 where she teaches design studios and seminars on architecture and technology. In addition to her teaching duties for the Department of Architecture, she is affiliated with Barnard's Urban Studies Program.

Professor Fairbanks is a partner in the independent architectural practice, Marble Fairbanks. The firm specializes in cultural and institutional work and the integration of digital technology into design and production. Marble Fairbanks was recently commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art to design a speculative architectural wall system for the recent exhibit, Home Delivery. Other recent projects include the Glen Oaks Branch Library in Queens, the Toni Stabile Student Center for the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University, and Tenrikyo Mission New York Center Church in Flushing. They were selected for the NYC Department of Design and Construction’s Design Excellence Program and have been recognized with numerous international design awards including American Architecture Awards, the Emerging Architect Award, and a Progressive Architecture Award.

Selected Publications

Marble Fairbanks: Bootstrapping (University of Michigan, 2005).

1000 x Architecture of the Americas (Berlin, 2008).

The Architect: Women in Contemporary Architecture (Australia, 2001).

Architectural design for cultural and institutional projects
Design of teaching/learning environments
Digital integration


(212) 854-8431

BS, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
MArch., Columbia University

In the News

Data-driven approach encourages positioning libraries at the center of public policy priorities

Glen Oaks Library receives both Public Choice and Editor’s Choice awards

In November, senior architecture majors and Prof. Karen Fairbanks traveled to Rio de Janiero to study Brazil's resources and urban development.