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The power of Architecture – Flying Monks


ongshan Mountain is a sacred & UNESCO World Heritage listed site in rural Henan, Central China. Designed by Latvian Studio Mailitis Architects, the Shaolin Flying Monks Theatre is nested along Songshan’s hillside, creating a new landmark amongst the existing traditional structures such as the Shaolin Monastery and the Songyang Confucian Academy. It houses a vertical wind tower that blasts performers up in the sky for their performances, surrounded by a 230 seat amphitheatre.

The Songshan Mountain is known as the spiritual “Centre of Heaven & Earth” which led the theatre to develop under two symbols: “Mountain” and “Tree”. It mimics therefore the natural environment where the monks develop their skills

In line with the dualisms above, building methods combined both modern and ancient tecniques, like laser-cut steel structure supporting handcrafted stone steps made with local materials.

The building consists of 4 main areas: the outer surface, the stage, the interior and the engine room. The exterior stepped surface serves not only as an amphitheatre, but also to blend in with the topography of the site while also providing substantial air flow to the engines. The wind tunnel, partly designed by company Aerodium, sits right in the middle of the amphiteatre with the engine room under the stage. The interior spans across 3 levels catering for all visitors & performers needs.

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