Karen Fairbanks is a founding partner of Marble Fairbanks, where her work includes educational, institutional, and residential projects. She is the Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Professional Practice in Architecture at Barnard College and chair of the Architecture Department, teaching architecture design studios and courses on architecture and technology at Barnard and Columbia Colleges. She and her partner, Scott Marble received a research grant from the New York State Council of the Arts for their proposal "New Media in Learning Environments", continuing research that began with their project for Cooper Union.
The recent work of her firm has focused on cultural and institutional projects for public and private clients including Queens Library, Princeton University, Haverford College, Columbia University, The New School, The Museum of Modern Art and New York University. The firm's work reflects not only her considerable design talent but also her ability to work collaboratively with the clients to meet their needs.
For faculty members balancing the demands of the academy with the demands of running a firm is a challenge. It is a goal shared by current Taubman College faculty as well as many students. Karen has been successful on both fronts and is a role model for many, particularly for female students who are eager to both teach and practice.