The convent of the Poor Clares
The former convent is a 6,500 m2 series of monastic buildings designed by Jean-Baptiste Bethune during the latter part of the 19th century and located in the Epeule neighbourhood of Roubaix, Northern France. Vacant since 2008, the building was registered as a Historical Monument in 2010 and has been kept alive ever since by the non-profit "Les Amis du Monastère des Clarisses de Roubaix" (Friends of the convent of the Poor Clares of Roubaix).
Call for proposals
For the last 10 years, the City of Roubaix has been promoting sustainable development and a zero-waste policy, and it is seeking to transform the deconsecrated convent into a place dedicated to accelerating the transition to green all over the country. In this context, the city issued a call for proposals in 2019, looking for a temporary occupation of the building.
Saisons Zéro is a collective experiment
The non-profit Zerm first moved into the convent of the Poor Clares in November 2019 and has been gradually settling in. Together, its members are looking for ways to reach acceptable standards of living in vast, non-insulated rooms, while preserving their historical integrity and generating as little impact as possible as the days and seasons go by.
Reducing our energy consumption, giving a second life to construction materials, upcycling thermal insulating furniture and raising awareness about the origin of consumer goods and waste management are among the topics of concern.
One of the more crucial objectives of this project is also to open the site, its alleys and gardens – originally designed for a cloistered existence – to the surrounding Epeule neighbourhood and the public. Soon, a workshop, offices, a hostel and a snack bar will all be open to the public, as well as a varied programme of events, all of which will evolve as the seasons go by.
New residents, such as non-profits, collectives and companies will join the project by renting offices and workspaces there or by hiring its venues for special events.
Volunteering days offer everyone the opportunity to help out and experiment with us, with documentation of all experiments made available for consultation on site.
Saisons Zéro is a project led by Zerm and supported by Yes We Camp, the company ICAR and historian Gilles Maury. The project benefits from the support of the City of Roubaix, which is funding all the work needed to bring the building up to standard and also involved in the governance of the project.
Emma Cogné, textile design
Harriet De Vere, proofreading
Théo Poyer, graphic design
And all our volunteers!