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Poet in residence: Rhael 'LionHeart' Cape

17 Apr 2019

We are thrilled to have Rhael (a.k.a. LionHeart) as our first poet in residence.

LionHeart is a TEDx speaker, award winning poet and international spoken word performer. He is also the author of debut poetry collection 'The Mute's Rebellion', excavating memories of social anxiety, upbringing, emotional vulnerability and more.

In 2018 LionHeart came to the Building Centre with the research question ‘What is architecture and poetry’s relationship to wellbeing, psychology and memory?’ His enthusiasm was infectious and so when he asked if he could interview Building Centre staff to inform his research, we were delighted to take part.

As a small team with a large workload, it is sometimes difficult to justify taking time out to reflect on your relationship with the built environment. But how can we understand and design spaces if we don’t take the time to think about how they make us feel and how we want them to make us feel?

Each one of us had a wonderful afternoon with Rhael, talking to him about our lives, rooms of our past and what the people we love would look like if we were to describe them as a building. There is poetry in how we interact with places, people and buildings. In response to our conversations and as part of his research, LionHeart produced a series of poems, one of which we share with you below.

LionHeart’s work and research on 'Emotional Inhabitancy' has now become widely recognised. This past year he has worked with Grimshaw Architect, BIG Group, Wellcome Collection and most recently, The Saatchi Gallery.

Find out more about Rhael 'LionHeart' Cape at


We are custodians of the feeling we reside in

A building         can withstand a hurricane

if it is designed              to be open,


and what does that say

about the cityscape?


Are the people              the hurricane?

Refused and excluded from flowing


from space to space, the privacy:

a marginalisation of movement.


A building can                withstand a hurricane

if it is designed              to be open,


and what does that say of poetry?

The small things that return us to ourselves.


To belong to a place even if it is the floor

of a home yet to be furnished, it’s home


as long as there is us: a double page spread

beckoning the ink of life to sink in.


A person can withstand a hurricane

if they love       enough              to be open.


What does this say of our cohesion

with walls wide enough to displace togetherness?


What does it say of this building we have weathered?

With all the odds against us, like a hurricane


ridding us          of the familiar dust

of who we once were.


Contributing Notes: How memories are the intangible spirit attaching themselves to even the dust in a space, the artefacts of life, what we’re going through, inadvertently goes through the spaces we inhabit too. The building is a part of a bigger picture, a psychological one of transportation, spiritually. Subjectively. Senses record the spaces; the eye is only one angle we record from. Not particularly the best.

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