This desolate and fantastic scenery, vaguely futuristic, in ochre shades made from bricks, concrete and oxidised iron, is nothing less than the interior of the discharge channel of one of the oldest hydroelectric stations in the Niagara falls. The tunnel is part of a massive centennial underground infrastructure, whose last component stopped working in 2005. The author of this amazing picture is Canadian writer and photographer Michael Cook, who holds a passion for urban exploration.
In his adventures he has already explored various undergound tunnels in Canada, especially in Ontario and Toronto, where he lives. With the help of old maps, reports and plans that he makes himself, he dives into the tunnels armed with boots, waterproof clothes, a helmet and various lighting gadgets, not to mention his photo camera. In his personal website, appropriately called The Vanishing Point, he posts countless photos, drawings and texts that tell us about his explorations.
But Cook is not an isolated case, nor is Canada the only country with this sort of infrastructures. Everywhere, urban undergrounds are filled with tunnels, galleries and wells that, together, constitute a complex and functional draining network. The sewers are, after all, a trademark of our civilization, that has accompanied us since the first records of the first cities. On a last analysis, they are an abstract and artificial version of the water that used to run on the land before cities were built. An historical and archeological testemony, they measure, in addition, our environmental impact.
It's worth a peak at an interview the author has given to BLDGBLOG, in which he speaks about sewers in Canada. But, for now, here are some fabulous photos taken by Michael Cook.
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