From the Sens Espace Workshop to Cantercel

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.

Starting phase:

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 traineeships

  • 1994-1997 : the first buildings are built and the first university groups (Canada, South Korea and Italy) are welcomed
  • 2000-2004 : first accommodation structures
  • 2004-2009 : investment in activities: workshops, summer workcamps, ecological construction, visits and publications

Development phase:

  • reformulation of the project in environmental, economic and social terms, construction of the gite l’Oreillette, search for partners