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23 November, 2004


Tokyo is built over a network of rivers and waterways, which causes problems during heavy rain, especially in typhoon season.  Hence, the subterranean G-Cans Project features a network of truly massive conduits designed to collect and dissipate flood waters.  The largest underground waterway in the world has five 32m diameter, 65m deep concrete containment silos linked by 64 km of tunnels, 50m beneath the surface.  Huge 14,000 horsepower turbines can pump water into the outlying Edogawa River at a rate of 200 tonnes/sec.

As Che, at Octopus Dropkick (found via Boing Boing) says, the images of the scheme look like something from a computer game. I think it's a combination of the slightly abstract, huge shapes, seen in slightly misty lighting, with industrial surfaces which haven't seen much wear yet - there are patches of discolouration, as might be added by Photoshop, but negligible actual damage; it's subtly too perfect.
Yet this is explained by the fact that though the project is 12 years old, it's only just finished (or is it still under construction?), so it hasn't experienced wear and tear. The images aren't photo-real CGI, they really are photographs. Impressive engineering aside, they're just great images.

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