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How will Monaco Preserve pieces of Historic Villas?

In the Principality, old buildings are constantly and quickly being torn down to make way for new, modern constructions. Demolishing buildings can both create a lot of waste and erase a piece of history. Since Monaco prides itself on being environmentally conscious, new processes are being put in place to salvage as much as possible from doomed buildings before they turn to rubble.

Upcycling Villa Carmelha

Sébastien Duprat, Managing Director of the start-up Cycle Up, recently spoke about the principle of circular economy in construction sites. He addressed the Villa Carmelha site in particular during the 3rd Energy Transition Press Meetings (held on 10 February).

For the first time in the Principality, materials will be put on sale during the construction of the Villa Carmelha tower in Saint-Roman. The new building will house twenty-five dwellings by 2021.  But before it can be constructed, the existing building will be destroyed this summer.

Reusing the materials of a building set to be demolished will reduce the impact of the construction.  Wooden doors, tiles, toilets, false ceilings and more will be put on sale for less than 15% of the original price.  And since it costs approximately 200 euros per tonne to deal with demolition waste, it’s a win-win concept.

The Cycle Up teams have already evaluated Villa Carmelha’s resources. Although it’s a test operation, the idea could spread to other sites in the Principality.

Cinema history demolished?

Another historic building which perhaps could’ve benefited from Cycle Up’s concept is Villa Le Mas, which was recently demolished. By the end of 2022, a 15 storey skyscraper, complete with parking lots and a nursery school, will be in its place. The “Honoria Palace” will include about 65 housing units and will also meet the “Mediterranean sustainable building in Monaco” certification.

Some locals are questioning whether heritage sites should be preserved, especially since Villa Le Mas was once the home of film pioneer Charles Pathé. It’s a difficult question to address in a place with an increasing population, where housing is becoming scarce.  Born in 1863, Charles Pathé was an important pioneer of the French film industry and of cinema technology. As the founder of Pathé Frères, Charles Pathé and his brothers pioneered the development of the moving image.  He first invested in Edison’s kinetoscope, which producing animated images and is known as the beginnings of cinema.  On 22 March 1895, the Lumière brothers unveiled their cinematograph and Pathé wasted no time in distributing cinema projection equipment.

In 1927, Charles Pathé took up residence in Villa Le Mas, at the bottom of the Exotic Garden.  In Monaco, Pathé wrote his memoirs and established a friendship with Léon Gaumont. He died in Monaco on Christmas Day 1957, one day before his 94th birthday.

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