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Kelly Bair, Central Standard Office of Design

Gallery Opening + Talk


Tight Fade: On Architectural Gradation is a collection of work that originates from two rather distant points of influence: popular culture (specifically the Tight Fade haircut) and high art (specifically 2d drawing and 3d sculpture). In popular culture, “Tight Fade” is a term used colloquially in reference to a vintage haircut. The Tight Fade relies on a set of specific parameters that can be adjusted for various looks however the principle of the cut has remained the same over time: transitions across a geometrically intricate surface with varying degrees of smoothness based on desired effects.

This collection of work looks to these techniques and others unique to both references and adapts them to produce new architectural affects, material strategies and formal sensibilities. Through drawings and objects, the work constructs relationships between opposites such as contrasting profiles (ie. pitched roofs to arched roofs) and gradated fills (ie. opaque to transparent). Moving beyond color as a primary vehicle for studying gradation, the work seeks to uncover ways in which architecture engages other visual element transitions such as planar to volumetric, material to immaterial, and 2 dimensions to 3 dimensions.


Kelly Bair is principal of Central Standard Office of Design, an architectural research studio based in Chicago. Her work has been exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Chicago, and Detroit. Most recently her work was exhibited in the 1st Chicago Architecture Biennial (2015) and the upcoming 16th International Architecture Exhibition in the U.S. Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2016).

Bair is also co-founder of Possible Mediums, a collaborative of four Midwestern architects and educators interested in shaking up the context and format in which architecture is taught, produced, and engaged. She is an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Earlier Event: March 31
All CAP Symposium