Perched on the Songshan mountain in rural Henan, China, this new temple designed by Latvian architecture studio Mailītis Architects brings a whole new perspective to the legendary Shaolin monks: specifically an aerial perspective. The recently completed Shaolin Flying Monks Temple contains a one-of-a-kind levitation pavilion that houses a vertical wind tunnel designed in part by Aerodium that blasts participants toward the sky in the center of a 230-seat amphitheater.
“The concept is to tell the history of Zen and Kung-Fu through artistic performances and architectural image of the building itself,” says Mailītis. “It serves as a metaphor for mountain and trees and was inspired by Songshan mountain – the natural environment for monks to develop their skills.”
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Built in Buenos Aires as a performing arts theater in 1919, El Ateneo Grand Splendid's content has undergone several revisions, with its current purpose being a 21,000 square foot bookstore. Despite the switching of functions, the architecture has remained true to the early 20th century vision of Peró and Torres Armengol, the building still boasting ornate frescoed ceilings and detailed trimmings that line the ceiling, handrails, and walls.
The stage and balcony seating is also intact, the spaces now used as reading areas where guests can peruse the store’s many books in front of thick velvet curtains. These attributes were almost destroyed in 2000 when the building was slated for demolition, however before the historic theater could be taken away it was leased to Grupo Ilhsa who built out the bookstore. Now over 1,000,000 people walk through Al Ateneo Grand Splendid’s doors annually keeping the tiered theater very much alive. If you liked this, also check out the Waanders in de Broeren bookstore built inside a cathedral. (via Twisted Sifter)
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Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison have been a collaborative duo for the last 20 years, mixing Shana’s interest in dance with Robert’s background in photography to produce environments specifically for their combined practice. A constant theme throughout the couple’s two decade long work has been man’s effect on the landscape—showcasing how we are constantly influencing, and more often than not damaging, the Earth.
“We create works in response to the ever-bleakening relationship linking humans, technology, and nature,” says the ParkeHarrison’s artist statement. “These works feature an ambiguous narrative that offers insight into the dilemma posed by science and technology’s failed promise to fix our problems, provide explanations, and furnish certainty pertaining to the human condition. Strange scenes of hybridizing forces, swarming elements, and bleeding overabundance portray Nature unleashed by technology and the human hand.”
Recently the work has reflected the pair’s love of theater and performance, with pieces such as Intermission (2015) and Soliloquy (2015) showcasing stages large and small set inside larger post-apocalyptic scenes. In Riverview (2015) the subject holds a tapestry in front of a rundown carnival, an image of a beautiful river masking what may have paved over its former place. In First of May (2015) the subject listens closely to two megaphones in a hazy field, perhaps searching for wisdom from nature rather than man.
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