Date of Submission

Spring 5-7-2024

Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Architecture



Committee Chair/First Advisor

Trace Gainey


In the 1980s, stumbling upon the Imperial Lodge of Elks by night would have immersed one in an atmosphere characterized by expression, love, and cultural vibrancy. This locale, nestled within the ballroom culture of Harlem, NYC, has since evolved into a celebrated bastion of queer culture, serving as both a historical touchstone and a wellspring of inspiration for contemporary pop culture and the LGBTQ+ community. Drawing parallels between the architectural and functional dynamics of this bygone era and present-day queer spaces reveals intriguing insights. In downtown Atlanta, the once-thriving Underground Atlanta district grapples with the challenge of maintaining its relevance amidst evolving urban landscapes. While steeped in a rich cultural heritage, its significance often remains overlooked by many. Despite this, the area has become a haven for thriving queer nightlife, hosting renowned DJ parties and showcasing the talents of emerging artists within spaces originally designed for conventional retail ventures. However, as the specter of gentrification looms, Underground risks losing the very essence that has defined it for decades: its underground culture. Critical to the revitalization efforts for Underground Atlanta is the integration of spatial configurations that embrace fluidity and adaptability, thereby challenging conventional retail norms. Additionally, the creation of innovative public spaces designed to foster social interaction and community cohesion emerges as a pivotal consideration. Through a meticulous examination of successful queer spaces, this thesis endeavors to distill design principles uniquely suited to the distinctive context of Underground Atlanta. Central to this endeavor is the recognition of the intrinsic relationship between queer spatial dynamics and architectural principles. By delving into this symbiotic connection, this study seeks to inform a transformative strategy for the adaptive reuse of the Underground Atlanta site.

Included in

Architecture Commons