Cantercel means “sing the earth and space” ou “sing the earth and sky”
Linking uses and poetry
A vocation of hospitality is anchored in history and situation of this traditional place of halt for floks.
The site, a threshold between the plateau and the plain, offers a panorama over the ‘Golf du Lion’ under a celestial vault free of light pollution.
Its ambiance résonne in the imagination of the planet akin to that of the ‘Petit Prince de St Exupéry who ask for a sheep desin. Today living places are designed for a society in transition.
Flocks came to a halt at the foot of Plo, the hill of Cantercel, where a source is found : the source du Goutal.
Its vocation of hospitality is anchored in history and its ambiance in the mythical imagination of the planet akin to that of the ‘Petit Prince de St Exupéry’
Linking tradition and innovation
Cantercel is at the heart of 3 large heritage sites that are found within a radius of 20km : Lac du Salagou / Cirque de Mourèze, St Guilhem le Désert / Gorges de l’Hérault and Cirque de Navacelles. Between the Pont du Diable and the Viaduc de Millau, the site is also on the edge of THE CAUSSES AND THE CEVENNES, classed as a UNESCO world heritage site in 2013 as a living landscape fashioned by Man.
Architecture in Cantercel fashions the landscape and constitute a patrimony for tomorrow.
Linking living space and resting place
Easily accessible from the A75, with three motorway exits within a 15-20km radius, whether one comes from Paris, Toulouse or Lyon, the site is also 1hr. from Montpellier.
The quality of life and the cultural dynamism of Herault encourage attendance of Cantercell where all inhabitant are host and guest of the place.
Of this urban pole is an attraction that its hinterland can benefit from.
To conceive living space
We do not live in walls but in the space between and beyond them. It is this sense of infiniteness that we need between our walls.
What communication can we establish with the environment beyond cultural and conventional norms? How can we create quality of life and ambiance? What is our capacity to feel, to be ‘there’? To feel oneself to be ‘on holiday’ in daily life, give taste to foodstuffs, give poetry to a text, return to give pleasure and infiniteness to things. To give space to construction means to value the well-being of comfort. Before forms, space is everywhere, empty…filled by our perception and our emotions, it contains all we have lived, our habits.
To build the environment
Reciprocal integration of living places, their needs and their techniques have given birth to the traditional architecture of the past and will give birth to those of tomorrow. Transitory space values interior/exterior relationships, communication between beings and breathing. What remains is the need to embark on the adventure of a Man/Place dialogue.
Transmit an experience
To acquire knowledge can we make an economy of experience ? How can we make sense of the act of building without experiencing the union of material, Man and nature ? Each experience a priori changes us and our habits, promoting our understanding in terms of material, time and effort. It awakens a personal sensibility. It is a moment of discovery, opening or confirmation that gives birth to an interest, a motivation stimulating a creative act. The experience contains the force of the lived.
Cantercel offers a conceptual experience and a global act of construction : of nature, architecture and their use : an experiment of materials, techniques and facilities.
The Sens Espace Workshop
In 1970 Jean Pierre Campredon discovered the organic architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright during the creation of the ‘Sens et Espace’ workshop unit run by Hervé Baley, teacher at the l’Ecole Spéciale d’Architecture in Paris.
His pedagogy infused many architects efforts in different countries. Around 400 theses grasped the occasion to deepen research on the perception of place, ambiance and the influence of spatial organisation over mankind and the environment.
In 1990, upon the closure of the atelier, creation of the association Sens Espace Europe, in order to continue the educational activities and to associate them with constructive practice within the framework of a site dedicated to architectural experimentation. In this way an international group of architects, engineers and artists participated in the emergence of the Cantercel project.
From 1985 to 1988 : search for a site responding to the criteria of landscape, space and ambiances, in addition to physical criteria : area, geography, accessibility
- March 1988 : discovery and exploration of the site baptised Cantercel
- 1989 : first contact with the commune of La Vacquerie.
- 1989-1993 : the association describes its experimental site project, presents it to organisations and engages in contact with European universities.
- 1993-1994 : the POS (Land Usage Plan) was revised. The SCI Cantercel acquired 30ha of developable land for the association project. Utilities were granted to the land thanks to European Social Funding, implying the State, the Région Languedoc Roussillon, the Département de l’Hérault and La Communauté de Communes Lodévois Larzac.
Operational Phase : first buildings, first internships
- 1994-1996 : the first buildings
- 1997 : official opening of the site that welcomed the first university groups (Canada, South Korea and Italy)
- 2000-2004 : first accommodation structures
- 2004-2009 : investment in activities: workshops, summer workcamps, ecological construction, visits and publications
Development Phase :
2010-2016 : reformulation of the project in environmental, economic and social terms, construction of the gite l’Oreillette, search for partners