Shaolin's flying monks blasted into the sky above mountainous amphitheatre

Latvian practice Mailitis Architects have designed an amphitheatre with a unique wind tunnel for a band of levitating monks.

The Shaolin Flying Monks Theatre has been built on Songshan Mountain in central China – a Unesco World Heritage that is home to the Shaolin Monastery, traditionally considered to be the birthplace of Zen Buddhism and Kung-Fu martial arts.

The monks who live on the mountain develop skills in many scenic arts, all of which will be demonstrated in their new 230-capacity arena. The most dramatic performances will come when the monks take flight; the vertical wind tunnel blasting them into the sky.

The theatre’s design was inspired by the shape of two symbols – a mountain and a tree.

“The architectural image pays respect to the beauty of surrounding nature and the historical heritage of the site,” said Mailitis Architects in a statement. “The building method combines modern and ancient technologies. A laser-cut steel superstructure supports stone steps handcrafted using local quarry resources.”

The building has four basic functional zones: the stage, the three-storey interior area, the wind tunnel’s engine room and the mountain-like exterior surface, which has the stone stairway built into its side.

This sweeps up the building and around the auditorium and the tree-like wind tunnel, gradually transforming into the seating area.

Summarising the project, the architects said: “The temple is an attempt to build a landmark by creating a mutual respect between history and future, nature and scientific development, and Eastern and Western philosophies.”

Shaolin  Flying Monks Theate  Mailitis Architects  architecture  design  UNESCO 
Latvian practice Mailitis Architects have designed an amphitheatre with a unique wind tunnel for a band of levitating monks. The Shaolin Flying Monks Theatre has been built on Songshan Mountain in central China – a Unesco World Heritage that is home to the Shaolin Monastery, traditionally considered to be the birthplace of Zen Buddhism and Kung-Fu martial arts. The monks who live on the mountain develop skills in many scenic
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The wind tunnel, developed by manufacturer Aerodium, blasts the monks into the sky / Ansis Starks
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