‘La bonne graine’

TYPE Co-design Workshop

STATUS Completed

DATE  August-September 2008

LOCATION Paris, 11th district




Jeudi Noir, a collective of activists fighting for affordable housing in Ile-de-France, requisitioned 14 passage de la Bonne Graine in August 2008. However, the management company ADOMA, owner of the building, decided to carry out rehabilitation work on the empty building in order to set up a foyer for migrant workers. Jeudi Noir thus decided to vacate the premises as soon as the work began so as not to hinder this social housing project.

However, the temporary inhabitants of the building and members of the Collectif pour l’avenir des Foyers (COPAF) became aware of the planned project, noting serious shortcomings and a total lack of consideration for the realities within these foyers. This created a new awareness amongst the members of the collective, who were encouraged to take into account the future of the building after their departure.

Jeudi Noir felt that if the occupation of a place responds to a necessity, it is also a strong political commitment. This commitment implies that there is a responsibility to ensure that the building is not only well-maintained during its occupation (management, repair, maintenance) but also in its subsequent uses. If the aim is to encourage owners of vacant premises to reinvest in them, this cannot be done at any price, and particular attention must be paid to their future.

Quatorze, along with Jeudi Noir members who lived in the “Bonne Graine”, decided to organize an intensive week-long working group order to understand migrant worker’s expectations and eventually propose a counter-project.

The first part of this week of reflection was devoted to analysis, guided by the members of the COPAF and a representative of the Fontaine au Roi hostel – where the then future inhabitants of the “Bonne Graine” were housed. This permitted all actors to understand the functioning of the foyers (management, life, uses…) and to understand the weaknesses of the ADOMA project. At the end of this first phase, the participants were able to co-define objectives and a working approach.

Three axes were selected for the elaboration of a counter-project:

-Analysis of the stakes involving the demands of the inhabitants and the inherent constraints.

-Proposals for an effective organization and functioning of an “ideal” home.

-Development of a coherent and feasible architectural project.

Collaborative working groups were thus formed during the week, taking advantage of the breadth of knowledge, disciplines and skills between a number of professionals, architects and experts.

The table compares three different versions of the building: that of which was once squatted by Jeudi Noir, ADOMA’s plan for the space, and the proposal drafted during the workshop. The collaborative plan was imagined according to the following criteria:

– The atmosphere of both private (bedroom) and common spaces.

– The problematic elements of the project.

– The volume of common spaces.


NB: The photographs were taken by Dominique Brachais, a mischievous pirate-photographer who sadly passed away in 2012. Ciao bello.


Licence Creative Commons Ce(tte) œuvre est mise à disposition selon les termes de la Licence Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International.

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