New Theatre Opens In The Julien Pass Of The Swiss Alps

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Following a two million Swiss franc construction the Origen Festival has been able to open its new venue for this year's performances in an isolated and beautiful alpine location.

The area is already a feast for the eyes

The area is already a feast for the eyes
© Marius Gomes/123RF

Standing more than 2,500ft (762m) above sea level on the site of an ancient Roman sanctuary is the mysterious 'The Red Tower', its striking silhouette in stark contrast with the Swiss mountain backdrop.

The tower, believe it or not, is actually a theatre which was erected earlier this year as a venue for the Origen Festival , during which it is to play host to a wide range of performances.

Having opened to the public on the 31st of July, the theatre's inaugural performance was from famous Ukrainian ballet dancer Sergei Polunin. The dancer's solo routine was performed at dusk when the red light of the setting sun lit the stage through the buildings large arched windows.

Am Julierpass steht seit diesem Sommer ein roter Turm, in dem das Origen Festival Cultural stattfindet. Der Zentralbau ist fokussiert auf eine abgehängte Bühne und erlaubt gleichzeitig einen faszinierenden Rundblick in die Bergwelt. ?? Auf archithese.ch liesst du im Blog einen Essay zum Gebäude. Darin erfährst du, warum der Theaterturm ein «Signal in der Wildnis» ist und lernst mehr über seine Architektur und den Bauprozess. ??Bowie Verschuuren #archithese #alpenarchitektur #origenfestivalcultural #julierpass

Une publication partagée par archithese (@archithese.ch) le

According to the building's architects the wooden structure is designed to develop a "direct dialogue between the performances and the landscape" with every show scheduled to take place at sunset allowing the mountain range, glowing in the red light of the setting sun, to illuminate the stage and complement its performances. The location is supposed to be in direct contrast to "the closed theatre buildings in the cities".

"We thought it's perhaps more interesting if you don't have a big opera house to use nature as a big theme," festival director Giovanni Netzer told Travel + Leisure. "The idea was to combine the atmosphere in the landscape with the performance you do onstage," he added.

The tower, which has space for 250 spectators, weighs 410 tons and cost two million Swiss francs to build. Architects had to use a special design which would withstand the risk of buffeting winds and avalanches. However, the structure is set to exist only until 2020, with the designers saying its impermanence reflects the "fleeting art form of theatre".

Acts will continue past the festival however, with performances scheduled year round, even though the theatre is yet to secure an additional million Swiss francs to make sure the venue is winter appropriate.

The theatre is another addition to the eventful architectural history of the Julien Pass, which includes a Roman temple of Jupiter, a medieval chapel to St. Sebastian and modern era hospices as well as defense installations.

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Benjamin Jacques
Posted on 10/08/2017 7 shares
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