Sustainable living on Monaco’s ‘Costa Verde’

Only a hundred years ago, Anse du Portier (Porter’s Cove) was just a simple fishing village on the bright shores of the Mediterranean, a stone’s throw from the imposing Rock of Monaco. Then, just two years after his 1956 marriage to Grace Kelly, Prince Rainier agreed an extension to the coastline which later became home to the cultural centre named after his family, the Grimaldi Forum. And fifty-five years later, their son HSH Prince Albert II chose the same area to launch an even more ambitious reclamation scheme. The project would become known as Mareterra – the place where sea and land come together.

The Mareterra extension, due to open in 2025, is an astonishing feat of engineering, adding six hectares to the coastline of the principality and providing space for 110 new apartments and ten villas. But it is much more than that. As a symbol of Monaco’s dedication to the preservation and enhancement of the ecology, Mareterra is hugely symbolic, and in many ways the natural culmination of Prince Albert’s commitment to the future wellbeing of the planet. If you’re one of those lucky enough to live on Mareterra, you won’t just be a Monaco resident; you’ll carry with you the credentials of someone who has made a major investment in the art of sustainable living.

Architects’ impression: mareterra.com

A greener approach

Monaco has form when it comes to sustainability. In 2006, Prince Albert set up his foundation with the specific aim of combatting climate change, preserving biodiversity, and conserving water resources. E-bikes and electric cars have become commonplace in the principality. Single-use plastics are due to be completely eliminated by 2030. Many restaurants are signatories to the Mr Goodfish sustainable fishing policy. And over 88% of Monaco’s hotels approved by international certification systems including Green Globe, Green Key (Clef Verte), Tripadvisor’s Ecoleader, and Accor’s Planet 21.

Mareterra will make its own contribution to the greening of Monaco: 50% of its rainwater is due to be recycled and used to power heating and air conditioning; and 4,500 square metres of solar panels will provide clean energy. The land extension is also focused on healthy living. One-sixth of the reclaimed land will be planted with native trees, a further one-third will be pedestrianized. Visitors and residents will have access to 600 metres of cycle paths, and a stunning sea-side walkway, Promenade Prince Jacques, will curve around the new shoreline, giving unprecedented views along this new ‘Costa Verde’.

An even closer relationship with the sea is assured by steps taken to conserve the marine ecology and encourage biodiversity. Mareterra is supported by specially-designed 26-metre-deep ‘caissons’ sunk into the sea-bed. These not only absorb wave energy, but also provide a wonderful habitat for marine life, making the development one of the most sought-after locations for sea-creatures hoping to set up home in the Principality!

What makes Mareterra special?

In a word, it’s the unique fusion of location, expertise and investability, unrivalled anywhere in the world. The address alone is impressive, since it is technically part of Monte Carlo – the quarter of Monaco known for its Casino, Opera, and host of celebrity residents. The access road, Boulevard Louis II, is part of the fabled Grand Prix circuit. And then, of course, there are the unparalleled sea-views.

But the real magic comes from the roll-call of architects and planners associated with the new build. Come back for Part 2 of this feature to learn more about the impressive collaboration between the Italian architect Renzo Piano, the French architectural firm of Denis Valode and Jean Pistre,  and landscape architect Michel Desvigne.