Despina Stratigakos Visiting Fellow

The Despina Stratigakos Visiting Fellowship supports research on the built environment as a vehicle for the creation of more inclusive communities, with a focus on gender and sexuality in architecture.

Despina Stratigakos.

“In this moment of societal change, I realized I had a resource in my living room, which was the last 30 years of collecting books focusing on women and sexuality in architecture,” says Stratigakos, UB professor of architecture.

Stratigakos, a UB professor of architecture, writer, historian and educator, also gifted more than 150 books from her own shelves to form the Despina Stratigakos Women in Architecture Book Collection in the UB Libraries. The collection will serve as a resource for fellows and the public.  

A prodigious scholar whose research examines how power and ideology function in architecture, Stratigakos says it’s incumbent upon the field to understand how inequities based on wealth, race, gender and physical ability are reinforced by patterns of land use and ownership, the organization of cities, and the design of space and place.

“How amazing to bring that conversation here to Buffalo,” says Stratigakos. “These are points of view that are being curated by others — and in ways that I would not have thought of myself. I would love for our students to take away a very solid foundation and strong tools to immediately participate in the conversations around diversity that are happening in the industry.” 

Fellowships will be awarded in each of the next three years to a candidate determined by the dean of the School of Architecture and Planning. Visiting fellows are also supported by a match grant from the chair of the Department of Architecture. The position invites fellows to mine the Stratigakos book collection in their research and develop a public event fostering dialogue on equity in architecture.

Stratigakos says her inspiration to give stems from the belief that faculty can contribute to their universities beyond scholarship and teaching, noting that providing philanthropic support is an “opportunity to entrench the progress that we want to see, and to solidify what we’ve been pushing through our scholarship and community work.” (Read the press release on Stratigakos' gift)

2023-24 Stratigakos Fellow: Adam Thibodeaux

Adam Thibodeaux.

UB architecture faculty member and design scholar Adam Thibodeaaux was selected as the inaugural Stratigakos Visiting Fellow to explore questions of social equity and architecture.

Thibodeaux, University at Buffalo clinical assistant professor of architecture, centers his teaching and research on the uncovering, preservation, and reclamation of architecture that once sheltered populations marginalized by difference. 

As part of the Fellowship, Thibodeaux presented “Queer(ing) Space,” the 2023 Stratigakos Symposium, which built on the premise that queer spaces are not created, but rather put to queer use. Hosted on June 3, 2023, at Kingfish, a queer-focused project space that Thibodeaux directs on Buffalo's West Side, the symposium examined “queer” methods of intervention through appropriation, deconstruction and activism.

"It understands and activates 'queer' as a verb rather than an adjective, prioritizing appropriation, deconstruction, and activism as primary methods of intervention," said Thibodeaux, who pursues his research through built works, public installations, writing and grassroots activism. 

"For better or worse, this Fellowship and Symposium are well-timed in a cultural climate where gender and sexual minorities are continual targets of public scrutiny," says Thibodeaux. "The opportunity to situate these conversations in the context of the Stratigakos Collection and the legacy of Despina's work has provided an ideally intersectional lens with which to frame the queer occupation of space."

The symposium opened a month-long exhibition featuring student-led interviews with six authors from the Despina Stratigakos Women in Architecture Book Collection and displaying work from three graduate architecture seminars on inclusive design at the University at Buffalo, Princeton, and the Rhode Island School of Design.