POLIGONAL's team: Christian Haid, Nancy Naser Al Deen, Lukas Staudinger

Queering Common Space is a living collection of queer memories, encounters, and stories from common and public spaces.

Launched by Berlin-based Poligonal as part of the Tbilisi Architecture Biennial, the archive is an online place-holder for the experiences of Tbilisi and Berlin’s queer communities.

“Queer spaces are often overlooked in the discourse on urban space in general and in the field of architecture in particular”, say Poligonal’s founders Christian Haid and Lukas Staudinger.

Central to the group’s mission, and the archive, is the push to spark a debate around the
importance of queer space in the city. “Being queer ourselves and having made our own
experiences throughout our lives and professional careers, it has come to be a strong personal
wish of ours to incorporate queerness into the discourse on architecture and urban planning.”

For Poligonal, this conversation is a crucial prerequisite for urban planners and architects in shaping the city of tomorrow – one that celebrates diversity and equality as a route to resilience.


Like so many places vital for urban expression, the majority of queer-friendly spaces across both Tbilisi and Berlin have fallen victim to lockdown restrictions.

Christian and Lukas point out that “Queer spaces are more than bars or clubs – for many of us it’s about being with our chosen families and living and celebrating one’s identity!”

As stringent measures advise against the congregation of multiple households, this year has
seen the emergence of new safe spaces, often in public areas. The experiences of these is something that is shared through Queering Common Space.

Hang in there! By Emre Busse, Berlin

With queer urban and common spaces often overlooked in traditional historical documentation,
the project takes the format of a digital archive.

“The project seeks to contribute to a more continuous queer spatial historiography to collect
contributions also over time. Like a library or an art collection, the archive is alive and able to
grow. It allows for records to live on, to be remembered, and to serve as a tool and a source of
everyday knowledge”, the founders explain.

The project features a range of formats – poems, songs, videos, and photos.
“It seeks to do justice to the beauty of representation and diversity of expression. We are all
different and so is the way we express ourselves. We wanted people to see that there is no right
or wrong – every contribution counts.”

ORO by Tzeshi Lei & Nancy Naser al Deen, Berlin

The team had not been to Tbilisi before, and due to COVID-19 were unable to travel there for the
project. Through asking the community around them, they managed to connect to inspiring
individuals in Georgia, whom they were able to get in touch with through Zoom. For Poligonal,
finding Georgian protagonists was a transnational community-building project in itself.

“The openness towards the project and the enthusiasm for the cause has deeply touched us.
We gained a lot of insight about the living worlds of queer people in Tbilisi and Georgia, and
about the struggles many have to go through every day. We were confronted with so much
courage to fight for more equality – politically, in the streets, and through art.”

Life is Over by David Apakidze, Tbilisi

For the first phase of the project, Poligonal invited protagonists from queer communities in Tbilisi and Berlin to become pioneers for the archive.

They had no idea what kind of projects would be submitted, but the team at Poligonal were
more than pleased with the response. “The contributions were breathtaking: all those personal
memories and beautiful ways of addressing significant issues of queerness and space showed
us how important it was to create a platform like this.”

Their stories served as inspiration for other people to follow in the second phase of the project,
during which the archive became open for everyone to contribute.

Poligonal are adamant that, “only as a community can the archive evolve into a beacon of queer
visibility – a collection that claims the rightful presence of queer narratives in common space
and a reminder that urban planning and urban transformation can’t be conceptualised without
taking queerness into account.”

Picture from United Queer Stream – made by Nia Gvatua,

Although Queering Common Space is hosted digitally, a physical event in Berlin was also set to
take place at the Haus der Statistik.

However as Merkel announced a second lockdown in Germany, the event had to be cancelled.
“Our team and all the people involved were devastated when the news about the cancellation
spread only two days before the event. Everyone had put so much energy, idealism and work into it”. It is set to be rescheduled next year.

Queering Common Space is an ongoing, living project without a defined end point. While
restrictions have posed impracticalities, Poligonal have refused to let it be a barrier to

“It’s not us keeping the archive alive – it’s the people out there sharing their experiences and
stories on queeringspace.xyz who are making it richer and more valuable every day – with every
single contribution! We just sparked the fire”.