How does a bridge withstand the forces of nature and traffic? How does a dome support itself? What does it take to erect a skyscraper 100 stories tall? How does a dam resist the crush of millions of gallons of water? What keeps a tunnel from collapsing? Building Big is a five-part PBS documentary series hosted by David Macaulay, exploring some of spectacular structures from Roman times to the modern era - in five categories: bridges, domes, skyscrapers, dams, and tunnels. Macaulay highlights the engineering principles and human stories behind some of the most remarkable achievements in the history of building.
Episode 1 - Bridges
How does a bridge withstand the forces of nature and traffic? 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.
Episode 2 - Domes
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.
Episode 3 - Skyscrapers
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, David Macaulay chronicles our aptitude for altitude.
Episode 4 - Dams
How does a dam resist the crush of millions of gallons of water? David Macaulay surveys the dam from Hoover's concrete arch confronting the Colorado River to the Aswan High Dam.
Episode 5 - Tunnels
What keeps a tunnel from collapsing? David Macaulay takes viewers underground to explore the history and ingenuity behind some of the world's tunneling marvels.
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