Karen Fairbanks is a founding partner of Marble Fairbanks where she has focused on the design and planning for both public and private educational and cultural clients. She has extensive experience with current library design, and her work as a member and current Chair of the American Libraries Association Committee for Buildings for College and University Libraries includes panels and presentations on library design around the country. Karen is currently the Director for Educational Affairs for the New York Chapter of the AIA, and she previously served on the Scholarship Committee and as Co-Chair of the NYC AIA Design Awards Committee. She has been a juror for architecture awards panels across the country and lectures extensively on the work of the firm.
Karen received her Master of Architecture Degree from Columbia University where she was selected for the SOM Travelling Fellowship, a William Kinne Traveling Fellowship, and the AIA Medal. She received a Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree from the University of Michigan and was honored by Michigan as the 2013 Distinguished Alumna of Taubman College of Architecture. Prior to forming Marble Fairbanks, she worked on award-winning educational and institutional projects at firms in New York City and Boston. Karen was included in the book The Architect: Women in Contemporary Architecture published by The Images Publishing Group.
Karen is the Claire Tow Professor of Professional Practice and Chair of the Architecture Department at Barnard College. As Department Chair she oversaw the merger of the Barnard and Columbia architecture programs and has developed the current department curriculum and the digital architecture lab. She teaches architecture design studios and courses on architecture and technology. While at Barnard she has participated in the capital planning of the campus – including service on the Capital Campaign Advisory Committee, the Long Range Capital Planning Committee, the Master Plan committee, the Trustee’s Buildings, Grounds, and Environment Committee, and the Teaching and Learning Center Steering Committee. Karen brings this extensive knowledge of institutional organizations and the specific needs of academic clients to the work of Marble Fairbanks.