Tokyo’s Futuristic Underground Drainage Tunnels

Dear 2120,

This is guesswork and conjecture, of course,  but I have a feeling that the old, Modernist dictum ‘Form Follows Function’ will still be around in your time.

Based solely on the fact that it’s lasted this long, and my own highly speculative gut feelings around architectural development, I don’t see why it should stop being relevant anytime soon. To me, it just seems to make perfect, holistic sense. You guys may use bioengineered, hyper-adaptable, intelligent seaweed instead of concrete, plastic and steel, but ‘Form Follows Function’, as in design driven by function instead of form – in other words, objects or architecture, stripped of all unnecessary ornaments, leaving only the essential functions – has always struck me as intrinsically honest, universally applicable and aesthetically sustainable.


These tasty tidbits of candy-coated insight are bequeathed to, my esteemed future reader, because I came across a series of photos by Christopher Rudquist documenting Tokyo’s vast, monolithic and extremely inviting drainage tunnels built to prevent the flooding of metropolitan Tokyo during monsoon season. Design doesn’t get much more function-driven than that. And the functionalist architecture is, to me at least, totally mesmerizing in its timeless, utilitarian splendour. The architects of the Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Tunnels, don’t fuck around, to use the parlance of our times.


If Japan doesn’t flake on us, the monumental tunnels should still be there in 2120. But even if they get a little lazy and the construction starts to decay and fall apart here and there, it’ll probably still make for a pretty decent outing just outside your  Tokyo megalopolis. Why not bring a date and serve them a glass of synthetically generated, hangover-free wine in the boundless, cavernous, underground space? If that doesn’t get you laid, I’d say you’re a lost cause.


Control room.




A shoeless, yet impeccably dressed employee at the Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Tunnels gazes into 2120.



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