Goodness knows what its former residents would make of this.
Once home to plain-living nuns from the Order of the Poor Clares, the St Joseph’s Convent in York has been transformed into a luxury ‘student village’.
Now known as Vita Student York, what was the chapel has become a huge and colourful hang-out zone. And the cloistered quadrangle is a beautiful al fresco area complete with stylish garden furniture.
Cinema, games and a gym
There is a games area with table tennis and pool tables, private study booths, chill-out sections and wall seating reformed from the original convent benches.
Elsewhere, there’s a 20-person cinema, a movie room, two private lounges, a private dining room, and a breakfast room in the former sewing room.
The high-tech gym bristles with state-of-the-art fitness gear. And there are 21 individual and group study rooms in the former convent bedrooms.
Outside, the cloistered quadrangle has become a beautiful seating area and there are acres of gardens, including an orchard and nature garden.
St Joseph’s Convent in York was founded in 1864 by a group of sisters who came to York from a convent in Bruges.
The nuns were from the Order of the Poor Clares, who aim to be as self-sufficient as possible. At its peak during the 1940s, the convent was home to more than 40 nuns, but numbers slowly declined over the years.
Design touches in the refurbished building reflect this history. These include a bespoke clock made from the same dominos the nuns once played with and authentic still images of the nuns taken on the site.
“We wanted to create an amazing space for students, whilst embracing the history and culture behind the site,” said Vita Student managing director Lee McLean.
“A lot of time was spent researching the sites’ heritage to ensure we reflected this in the design and build.”
Prices start from £161.70 per week for a standard studio room which includes all bills, a ‘grab-and-go’ breakfast and the use of all facilities including personal training and gym classes.
With 99% occupancy in its first year of opening, its York site is proving a hit among York students.