Royal Academy – Sensing Spaces

Sensing SpacesThe Royal Academy asked for a crowdsourced poem for their Sensing Spaces architectural exhibition.



Over the course of a Late event (where people can explore the show in the gallery after-hours) I spoke to lots of people, collecting their words in response to the exhibition and architecture more generally. People also took part on Twitter. Here’s the poem!

Sensing Spaces

Architecture is other people’s ideas
about what our lives should be like
the perfect combination of art and function
it’s everything that isn’t you
constructs us by constructing the imagination
stretches the boundaries
defines and embodies space
“Where are we going? Where have we been?
What’s discovered? What’s unseen?”

I prefer older architecture
with history and depth
it was more of a craft
now its more like construction
a feat of structural engineering
a frame to give order to surroundings
frames that people must go through.

It matters to people:
one man’s ceiling is another man’s floor
up and down stairs
your sense of self is somewhat relational to your environment
living together is about more than just efficiency
it enriches our lives
makes our cities
creates joy and contemplation

it can be alien and big and scary.
I don’t feel like I belong in this place
I’m not sure I truly understand this space
all glass but I feel trapped
I can see all of London
so near but so far
at my fingertips
but there’s a barrier
I’m enclosed – no air
an enforced hibernation
I’m contextualised:
have less chances to explore the unknown
my life organised
needs limited

needs answered:
shelter when it’s raining
keeps us warm
makes us slightly higher than the floor
creates awe
epic spaces are transcendental
the sense of being on your own is amplified
makes you stand back and go wow

feel insignificant
you don’t really have a choice
it’s just there
influences without moving you
it forces you to navigate
are you moving around the whole thing?
bland blocks of flats

St Peters at Rome
something that’s beautiful
makes you want to be inside it
can be life changing

a brutal experience
walled in, it constrains you from expressing
changes your mood and persona

changes your mood and persona
makes us smile
free within ourselves

sometimes we move architecture

it’s a façade: the rest is empty.

Architecture is a little bit of ourselves.


2 responses to “Royal Academy – Sensing Spaces

  1. Hope you can make it to the Wandering Words evening at the RA on Friday 7th. Great line-up of poets.

  2. Pingback: Goodbye 2014 | Dan Simpson: Poet

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