UB architecture professor Adam Thibodeaux explores queer space as inaugural Despina Stratigakos Fellow

Fellowship to culminate with symposium and exhibition on "Queer(ing) Space"

Published May 4, 2023

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

Adam Thibodeaux.

Adam Thibodeaux centers his teaching and research on the uncovering, preservation, and reclamation of architecture that once sheltered populations marginalized by difference. He will host the 2023 Stratigakos Symposium, "Queer(ing) Space," on June 3 at Kingfish in Buffalo.

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. His work focuses primarily on buildings that once served as queer gathering spaces, their histories masked by a need to assimilate in unwelcoming urban conditions.

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

As part of the Fellowship, Thibodeaux will present “Queer(ing) Space,” the 2023 Stratigakos Symposium, which builds on the premise that queer spaces are not created, but rather put to queer use. Set for June 3, 2023, at Kingfish, a queer-focused project space that Thibodeaux directs on Buffalo's West Side, the symposium will examine “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 ntervention," said Thibodeaux, who pursues his research through built works, public installations, writing and grassroots activism. 

Shedding light on a national debate

"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 will also open 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.

The Stratigakos Women in Architecture Collection is a trove of more than 150 books on gender, sexuality and architecture amassed by Stratigakos over the course of her 30-year career as an educator, writer and historian. She is internationally recognized for her scholarship exploring how power and ideology function across the discipline. 

Says Thibodeaux: "The Collection will be engaged with an intersectional lens to understand how methods of queering can be and have been used in service of creating, reclaiming, and protecting queer gathering spaces."

"I am endlessly thankful for Despina's support and continued commitment to advocating for marginal voices in the field of architecture," Thibodeaux said.

The Fellowships will be awarded 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.