The visionary tower on the Julier pass

Shot and written for Type7

The Julier mountain pass, in Switzerland’s Graubünden region, is a scenic and challenging alpine road where untouched nature is the predominant sight. On the long way to the top, crystal lakes and lush pine forests slowly make their way for the wide open and rugged high-elevation alpine scenery.

Once the highest point of the road is in sight though, an unexpected and almost surreal silhouette emerges between the harsh landscape. 30 meters high, painted red and made entirely of wood, this is the Origen Tower, truly an unusual sight at these altitudes.

Envisioned in 2016 by Giovanni Netzer, director of the cultural organisation “Origen”, the tower is essencially a fully functional theatre stage that can accomodate 250 people at 2’300 meters above sea level, with performances hosted throughout the whole year, combining rough nature and culture in an unique way.

Bulding of the 410-tons tower was completed by the engineer Walter Bieler in only two months, during which the single elements of the main structure had to be built separately in a nearby town and then transferred up the mountain. Challenges faced during concept and construction included the impossibility to use a scaffolding and the requirement of the structure to withstand strong alpine winds and even avalanches.

The project is meant as a temporary symbol of the fleeting art of theatre and is thus scheduled to be dismantled in 2020.