Latvian architect’s wind tunnel will allow Shaolin monks “to fight in mid-air”

Mailitis Architects of Latvia has designed the "Shaolin Flying Monks Temple", a wind tunnel and amphitheatre built for public aerial combat in Henan province, central China.

Mailitis says the temple will tell the history of "Zen and Kung-Fu through artistic performances and architectural image of the building itself". The design is inspired by the natural landscape of the Songshan mountain, the environment where monks develop their skills.

The 300 square metre temple "attempts to create a landmark through mutual respect between history and future, nature and scientific development, Eastern and Western".

MailÄ«tis Architects say that "the building method combines modern and ancient technologies – a laser-cut steel superstructure supports stone steps handcrafted using local quarry resources".

The recently completed amphitheatre will host weekly performances and will also allow members of the public to experience flight.

The project is located close to the Shaolin Monastery, a Unesco world heritage site that is considered to be the birthplace of Zen Buddhism and Kung-Fu.

The firm say "the concept is partially based on the phenomenon of levitation explored by the Shaolin monks for centuries.

"Now they will all have an opportunity to try levitating. The idea is focused on growth, a spiritual and physical chance of making the next step towards solving the mystery of levitation."

Austris Mailitis was awarded the contract after meeting Shaolin natives during the Shanghai Expo 2010, for which he designed Latvia’s pavilion.

Images courtesy of Mailitis Architects

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