Islands Design Researchers in Residence 22/23

James Powell: Dovecote for London

In his research, James digs into the shared histories of humans and pigeons.

Dovecote for London

Pigeons are a controversial species. Few other animals are so intertwined with the places we live, yet pigeons often make us feel more revulsion than respect.

In Dovecote for London, James Powell digs into the shared histories of humans and pigeons. He focuses on the designed objects and tools which have made up this history, from musical instruments to agricultural infrastructure. For James, the pigeon is a gateway to understanding the changing relationship between humans and other animal species: an evolution in roles from companions to pests.

In this display, James proposes a design for a new dovecote: a home for pigeons. This would form part of a citywide agricultural system providing guano (pigeon poo) to urban farms for use as fertiliser. Rather than separated into isolated nature reserves, the project imagines a city designed for different species to better live together.

Exhibition photography by Felix Speller

James Powell

James is an architect with a specialism in sustainable and ecological design. His residency will focus on architectures that have emerged from specific relations between humans and non-human species on islands such as Tinos, Greece, or the Outer Hebrides, Scotland.


Design Researchers in Residence: Islands

Visit this year's Design Researchers in Residence display showcasing new design research responding to the climate crisis.