Period IV

Riom and Riom castle. Photo: Adrian Michael, Wikipedia.

Genesis in Romansh Graubünden

The Swiss Heritage Society (Schweizer Heimatschutz), founded in 1905, is dedicated to the advancement of Switzerland’s architectural heritage. Its focus is on the preservation of distinctive landmarks, the development of the structural environment, and the promotion of architectural design. One of its activities is the awarding of the Wakker Prize (Wakker-Preis). The 2018 Prize goes to the Nova Fundaziun Origen, Origen Foundation, established in December 2007 in the small Romansh village Riom (200 inhabitants) in canton Graubünden. The village is better known for its emigration than for its architecture, but the Romansh name Origen means genesis, beginning or origin.

The foundation fosters Romansh theatre, culture and innovation of this trilingual region which thrives for centuries on cross border trade, cultural and economic exchange. Origen does not understand Riom or the Romansh communities as an alpine ghetto of a dying language and culture. The Origen Festival Cultural continuously expands its activities and plans a vivid cultural centre in Riom.

One of the extraordinary accomplishments is the theatre on top of the Julierpass. The Julierpass has an eventful architectural, social and cultural history. The Romans built a temple of Jupiter, and many pilgrims, emigrants, immigrants, troops, rulers, clergy, traders and others crossed the pass. The wooden Julier theatre combines nature, history and culture uniquely and stands for the innovative spirit of the Origen Foundation.  (Source: