Since 1972, the Swiss Heritage Society has annually awarded the Wakker Prize to a municipality that has rendered outstanding services to building culture in its settlement area. The Swiss Heritage Society is using this year’s 50th anniversary of this exceptionally enduring award as an opportunity to look back with a variety of activities – and especially to look forward.

The Wakker Prize was first made possible in 1972 by a bequest from the Geneva businessman Henri-Louis Wakker to Swiss Heritage. Since then, further bequests have been received, thanks to which he is able to award the prize to this day.

The Wakker Prize is awarded to municipalities that can demonstrate special achievements in the field of townscape and settlement development. This includes, in particular, the promotion of design quality in new buildings, respectful treatment of the historic building fabric and exemplary local planning that takes account of environmental concerns.

2022 the Wakker Prize goes to the municipality of Meyrin near Geneva

With the principle of densification by adding storeys, the large building stock from the 1960s is being further developed in a resource-saving way. With energy optimisation and connection to a sustainable energy and heating network, the CO2 balance of the energy consumed is significantly improved. (Photo: Christian Beutler/Swiss Heritage Protection)

In this anniversary year, the Wakker Prize goes to the municipality of Meyrin. According to the Swiss Heritage Society, the Geneva agglomeration community impressively demonstrates how diversity can be used as a strength through dialogue. In this way, the concerns of people and nature can be brought together and a high building culture with more biodiversity can be created for everyone.

What is planned for the 50th anniversary?

With more than 60 events in all parts and language regions of Switzerland, the sections of the Swiss Heritage Society are tracking down the Wakker Prize, its successes and failures, and its future challenges. You can find an overview of the entire programme on this map and in detail here.

  • Award ceremony to the municipality of Meyrin GE in the anniversary year on 25 June 2022 with the participation of Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga in Meyrin.
  • The Schoggitaler, jointly sponsored by Pro Natura and the Swiss Heritage Society since 1946, will be dedicated to the Wakker Prize in 2022. Teaching materials and new offers for schools create a basis for pupils to engage with the living environment.
  • A research project by the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSLU) supported by the Federal Office of Culture has investigated the success factors for a high level of building culture at the community level. The results will be available by mid-2022.
  • The association’s magazine «Heimatschutz/Patrimoine» will focus on the Wakker Prize several times in 2022.
  • A first thematic issue was published at the end of February.
  • The architecture magazine “werk, bauen + wohnen” will publish several articles in 2022 on the Wakker Prize and the question of how a high level of building culture can be reached at the municipal level. These will be bundled into a debate book at the end of the year.