Building Big | 2000
Documentary that features some of the planet's most spectacular structures, highlighting the engineering principles and human stories behind these achievements.
Part 1 focuses on bridges, from the stone arch bridges of the Roman Empire, to Japan's giant all-steel Akashi-Kaikyo suspension bridge, the longest in the world.
Part 2 explores domes, the object that has long been called the perfect form. When the Roman Emperor Hadrian rebuilt the Pantheon, a temple to all the gods, he chose the dome as uniquely symbolic, impressive and complex, creating an enduring role for the dome as a symbol of human achievement.
Part 3 explores the structures that are about ego and advertising, as much as engineering. At 1476 feet, the twin Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, are the tallest structures in the world. The program looks at the aim for altitude, from the medieval towers of Italy's San Gimignano, to today's dueling skyscrapers.
Part 4 surveys dams -- the biggest, most controversial structures of all. Grand dams store water, prevent floods and generate electricity, but they can also displace populations and wreak havoc on the environment.
Part 5 examines the dangers and difficulties of tunneling through hard and soft ground, what it takes to build a 24-mile-long tunnel under the English Channel and why people don't pass out from carbon monoxide poisoning as they drive through a road tunnel.