last week, i was looking for this photo for one of our clients from favorite belgian designer- vincent van duysen:
when i happened upon this amazing property in belgium by my other favorite belgian designer, axel vervoordt-
which happened to have one of these:
brakes on!! what the heck is that?? i can tell you a lot about art history- but not much about architectural history. but after a bit more ewalking, i now know probably more than i need to know about:
1. english name for dove and pigeon keeps. also called in italy-columbaria, france- tour-fuie and pigeonnier. belgium- duivenkot.
2. they’ve been around since earlier than the 12th century- in upper egypt and iran and were most prevalent in medieval times.
3. doves and pigeons were an important source of food in western europe and the birds were also treasured for their eggs and, well, their poop! in some regions- it was against the law to eat them because they only bred the birds for their prized fertilizer. too much info?
4. having one of these structures became a symbol of power and privilege. so what came next? government regulation. one man’s treasure is another man’s pest.
5. they have returned to modern urban life in scotland (called doocots), much like the onset of chicken coops in the US.
here are a few, including one designed by oscar niemeyer. for those of you who are architectural historians, i’m sure you can tell which one…