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

L

atvian practice Mailitis Architects have designed

“The architectural image pays

an amphitheatre with a

respect to the beauty of surrounding

unique wind tunnel for a

nature and the historical heritage

band of levitating monks. The Shaolin Flying Monks

of the site,” said Mailitis Architects. “The building method combines

Theatre has been built on Songshan

modern and ancient technologies.

Mountain in central China – a

A laser-cut steel superstructure

Unesco World Heritage Site

supports stone steps handcrafted

home to the Shaolin Monastery,

using local quarry resources.”

traditionally considered to be

There are four functional zones:

the birthplace of Zen Buddhism

the stage, the three-storey interior

and Kung-Fu martial arts.

area, the wind tunnel’s engine

The monks who live on

IMAGES: ANSIS STARKS

blasting them high into the sky.

room and the mountain-like

the mountain develop skills

exterior surface, which has the

in many scenic arts, all of

stone stairway built into its side.

which will be demonstrated in

Summarising the project, the

their new 230-capacity arena,

architects said: “The temple is an

which is designed to resemble

attempt to build a landmark by

a mountain and a tree.

creating a mutual respect between

The most dramatic performances

history and future, nature and

will come when the monks take

scientific development, and Eastern

flight; the vertical wind tunnel

and Western philosophies.” l

The Shaolin Flying Monks Theatre before a show

The vertical wind tunnel, created by manufacturer Aerodium, (above) shoots monks into the air during flying routines (left)

CLAD mag 2017 ISSUE 2

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