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BUILDING BIG Spacer image with 5 links within the image
About the Series
BUILDING BIG Home Page BUILDING BIG Site Map BUILDING BIG Labs BUILDING BIG Databank BUILDING BIG Glossary
Bridges
Domes
Skyscrapers
Dams
Tunnels
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BUILDING BIG
Tuesdays, October 3 through 31, 2000 at 8pm--only on PBS
(check local listings)

Think big! Engineers have been doing just that for thousands of years, as renowned author-illustrator David Macaulay proves in this five-part miniseries on spectacular structures. The programs cover bridges, domes, skyscrapers, dams, and tunnels-past and present. Along the way, Macaulay highlights the engineering principles and human stories behind some of the most remarkable achievements in the history of building.

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Bridges
Tuesday, October 3 at 8pm (check local listings)

How does a bridge withstand the forces of nature and traffic? Host David Macaulay takes viewers from the stone arch bridges of the Roman Empire to Japan's giant, all-steel Akashi Kaikyo suspension bridge, the longest in the world. Through the epic sagas of the Brooklyn, Golden Gate, and other great bridges, Macaulay shows how engineers have conquered ever-wider spans with better construction materials and innovative designs.

Program highlights: Brooklyn Bridge, San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, Japan's Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, Gustave Eiffel's Garabit Bridge, Scotland's Firth of Forth Railway Bridge

Program Producer: Larry Klein

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Domes
Tuesday, October 10 at 8pm (check local listings)

How does a dome support itself?
Ever since the Roman Emperor Hadrian topped his Pantheon with a dome, this roof-with-class has been the prestige building form. Big domes cover civilization's most revered structures, from great cathedrals to mosques to houses of government. Host David Macaulay uncovers the tricky technology of domes, from the Pantheon to the geodesic marvels of Buckminster Fuller and beyond.

Program highlights: Pantheon, Hagia Sophia, St. Peter's Cathedral, United States Capitol Building, Houston Astrodome, Buckminster Fuller and the geodesic dome, the Georgia Dome

Program Producer: Thomas Levenson

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Skyscrapers
Tuesday, October 17 at 8pm (check local listings)

What does it take to erect a skyscraper 100 stories tall?
From the medieval towers of Italy's San Gimignano to today's race to build the world's tallest skyscraper, host David Macaulay chronicles our aptitude for altitude. On the way up, he highlights the remarkable achievements of the Gothic cathedral builders and the almost-disaster of New York's Citigroup (formerly Citicorp) Center.

Program highlights: Chrysler Building, Reims Cathedral, Eiffel Tower, Empire State Building, New York City's Citigroup Center, Malaysia's Petronas Towers

Program Producer: Joseph McMaster

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Dams
Tuesday, October 24 at 8pm (check local listings)

How does a dam resist the crush of millions of gallons of water?
Host David Macaulay surveys the dam -- the biggest, costliest structure of all -- from Hoover's concrete arch confronting the Colorado River to the Aswan High Dam, a veritable underwater mountain sitting on the Nile riverbed, holding back a lake the size of England.

Program highlights: Egypt's ancient Saad El Kafara, Aswan High Dam, Hoover Dam, Brazil and Paraguay's shared Itaipu Dam, Johnstown, Pennsylvania's South Fork Dam

Program Producer: Judith Dwan Hallet

Tunnels
Tuesday, October 31 at 8pm (check local listings)

What keeps a tunnel from collapsing?
Tunnels have advanced from dangerous, claustrophobic passages to spacious, safe subterranean networks as roomy as shopping malls. Host David Macaulay takes viewers underground to explore the history and ingenuity behind some of the world's tunneling marvels.

Program highlights: Boston's Big Dig, Rome's Cloaca Maxima, Hoosac Tunnel, Holland Tunnel, London's Thames Tunnel, the Chunnel

Program Producer: Eugenie Vink

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