National Geographic Megastructures Huge Collection - 48 Episodes
1. Mega Plane - Air Force Transport
The episode profiles the C-5 Galaxy, one of the largest aircrafts in the world, and the operations of the crew of the mega-plane. The episode includes a look at how the C-5 Galaxy transports millitary equipment over to the troops in Iraq from America's Dover Air Force Base.
What began as a racing track, and thanks to Adolf Hitler’s World War II propaganda efforts, the track grew into a sophisticated high-speed road system, linking to almost all the major cities in Germany. The Autobahn boasts of having super thick road beds, 4% or less grades, wide lanes, and build on layers of technology. The Autobahn allows vehicles to travel at speeds exceeding 160km/h for roughly 2/3 of its roads. The episode profiles the operations of the highway cops, and their reliance on technology in training, monitoring of roads and various methods of arrest. It also looks at the ADAC, an automobile club, which provides on the spot road assistance. Nicknamed ‘The Yellow Angels’, they also provide air medical rescue. The system of maintenance of the Autobahn is also examined. All this infrastructure makes this mega structure into one of the world’s most safest super highway.
3. Beijing Water Cube
In Beijing a building like no other has emerged. It is a bold experiment in architecture and a cutting-edge vision of construction eco-engineering. When Beijing hosts the 2008 Olympics the eyes of the world will be riveted on this building. Its official name is the National Aquatics Centre but in the world of mega-architecture it is reverently known as the Water Cube. It's a brilliant fantasia of steel and plastic – a honeycomb of 22,000 steel beams supporting pillows of high tech plastic inflated onto shimmering translucent bubbles. Go behind the scenes to learn more about the vision that saw the creation of a building destined to become one this century's leading architectural feats.
4. Berlin's Grand Central - Train Terminal
Berlin's Grand Central will, literally and figuratively, reconnect East and West Germany, ushering in a new era of unification. Step into this megawork-in-progress as engineers race to complete Europe's largest train station before millions arrive for the World Cup football tournament. Can they pull off the last feat in time?
5. Boston's Big Dig
Boston, Massachusetts had a world-class traffic problem, an elevated six-lane highway called the Central Artery that ran through the center of downtown. When it opened in 1959, the Central Artery comfortably carried about 75,000 vehicles a day. It has carried upwards of 200,000, quite uncomfortably, making it one of the most congested highways in the United States.
One of civilisation's first building materials today continues to create structures that amaze. From driveways to fireplaces and chimneys, bricks are a part of daily life. But when thousands or millions of these simple blocks are stacked together, people have changed the course of history. See how a modern brick factory is able to churn out tens of thousands of bricks an hour while a traditional brick-maker uses centuries-old techniques to fire lumps of clay into rock-hard building materials. Then visit some of the greatest brick structures on the planet, from the awe-inspiring Great Wall of China to the legendary Markets of Trajan in Rome.
7. Bridge Breakdown
A young demolition team must lower an historic bridge to recycle 25,000 tons of steel, concrete and rebar (steel bars used to reinforce concrete), all while testing their limits, fighting the elements and racing against a ticking clock.
8. Building The World
Tonight's instalment looks at the construction of a group of islands in Dubai in the shape of the world map. Large enough to be seen from space, these artificial land masses represent an extraordinary engineering challenge, as construction teams race to meet an incredibly tight deadline.
9. China Ultimate Port
One of the biggest construction projects on Earth is in the middle of the ocean. More than 30 kilometres out to sea off the coast of Shanghai, China’s Yangshan Port will be the biggest deep water port ever built. When completed in 2020, its wharves will be an awesome 20 kilometres long, with berths for 50 ships, capable of handling 25 million shipping containers a year. A huge feat considering when the project began, only 40 percent of the port’s island existed. A Mega-dredge has already moved enough mud to fill more than one million Olympic swimming pools, but there is still 13 billion cubic metres of mud that need to be dredged to complete the project. To make this port viable against its high profile rivals, construction requires not one, but two Megastructures to be built. In addition to the actual port, a 32-kilometre bridge must also be constructed connecting Yangshan to the mainland. More than 12 times longer than the Golden Gate Bridge, the Donghai Bridge is the second longest ocean spanning bridge in the world. Many of the more than 600 concrete spans used to build the bridge are so big, they must be constructed on land and then towed to sea.
Concrete: It is the most widely used building material on Earth. It was a building block of the Roman Empire, and is a material of choice for a new generation of gravity-defying skyscrapers. This show breaks open the unique history of concrete, a material too often taken for granted.
11. Impossible Bridges - Denmark to Sweden
The Oresund, spanning 10 miles in length, is the longest bridge in the world. The bridge links countries Denmark and Sweden, and Megastructures chronicles the history in it's design and construction.
12. Diamond Diggers
On the edge of the Canadian Arctic, the frigid Ekati Diamond Mine is one of the most remote mines on earth. To work in this brutal sub-Arctic land, Ekati demands some of the world's fiercest digging tools: a DeMag 655 hydraulic shovel so powerful that it scoops the weight of 900 school buses every hour, a Cat 793C haul truck so strong that it can carry the weight of three dozen elephants in one trip and enough explosives to demolish 50,000 tons of frozen granite in a single day. Diamond Diggers explores the volcanic history and incredible discovery of the frozen Ekati Mine, the inner workings of its monster machines that move mountains of gem-studded earth, and the extreme conditions braved by workers to unearth nearly five million carats of diamonds each year.
13. Dubai's Palm Island
An enormous project is underway in the Arabian Gulf that will change the face of the coastline. It is so vast that it can be seen from space. Palm Jumeirah, one of the most audacious engineering projects the world has ever seen, is an artificial island in the shape of a massive palm tree. A breathtaking megastructure and an ambitious engineering feat, Palm Jumeirah is part of an even bigger plan to transform Dubai into one of the world's premiere tourist destinations. But with only a few years to create this paradise island, it's a race against time. Besides the construction of the island, there is also the challenge of building a small city, including 4,500 luxury houses and apartments, 29 hotels, miles of roads, and all the utilities required by the thousands of people who will be living on and using this island including water, electricity, gas and sewage. The project is due for completion in 2008 - are they on course to meet their deadline? And what other megastructures has the Sheikh planned for Dubai?
14. Future Trains - MagLev
Speeding at 430 kph, a futuristic magnetic levitation train links the Pudong International Airport with Shanghai's Longyang Road Station. The 30 km journey between air strip and financial district is now only an eight minute joyride. As the world's first commercial electromagnetic levitation train system, MAGLEV combines the technology of conventional rail and the time advantages of air travel to produce a safe, energy efficient and low-maintenance form of transport that could change the face of 21st century travel.
15. Garbage Mountain
It's big, it's nasty but it's more than just a hole in the ground. Puente Hills is Los Angeles' dirtiest suburb. Mammoth machines trundle around a pile of trash twenty stories high. Man and technology are pitted in battle against a tidal wave of waste. Some landfills take in 2,000 tons of trash a day but America's largest active dump takes in that amount each hour. Take a spin in the 15,000 lb Bomag Compactor with its 55-inch garbage crushing steel wheels. Puente Hills powers over 100,000 homes and a fleet of vehicles with the landfill's methane gas. Sift through the gargantuan world of garbage and find out what happens to your trash when you're not looking.
16. Golden Gate Bridge
In 1906, an earthquake of magnitude 7.9 rocked San Francisco. An earthquake of similar or greater proportions is expected to occur in San Francisco again, and soon. The episode takes a look at the efforts that are being made to retrofit and strengthen America’s most recognized bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge, before the next big earthquake happens. It also gives a brief history about the construction of the suspension bridge, and the people who were involved in its construction.
17. Impossible Bridges Greece - Rio-Antirio Bridge
The Rio-Antirio bridge is a cable-stayed bridge near Patra on the Peloponnese, linking the towns of Rio and Antirrio on the western mainland Greece, thus connecting with the rest of Europe.The bridge dramatically improves access to and from the Peloponnese, which could previously be reached only by ferry or via the isthmus of Corinth at its extreme east end. It has a length of 2252 m (2882 m including the access bridges); as it consists entirely of five cable-stayed spans and four pylons, and it is one of the world's longest cable-stayed suspended decks. Its width is 28 meters -- it has two vehicle lanes per direction, an emergency lane and a pedestrian walkway.
18. Hawaii Super Ferry
Designed to forge new routes between the Hawaiian islands, the massive Hawaii Super Ferry combines innovation with stability and speed. Can this ambitious design be turned into a functional ferry?
19. Hoover Dam
Throughout human history, mankind has built monuments to its ingenuity and skill. In Egypt it was the Pyramids. Rome, built the Colosseum. The Greeks built the Acropolis. The great cathedrals of Europe raised the skills of their builders to unequalled heights, creating awe inspiring structures. In the Americas, the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde and the high mountain city of Machu Pichu speak to the skill and ingenuity of their builders. In the modern era, it's buildings that reach near half a mile into the sky, bridges that stretch enormous distances in a single span, and machines that extend mankind's reach far into space. One monument that must surely be counted among the great achievements of mankind is Hoover Dam.
20. Ice Hotel
The Ice Hotel Sweden is built from blocks of ice gathered from the Torne River, as well as bulldozers, chainsaws jackhammers.
The building process starts in mid-November when the snow guns start humming and large clouds of snow start to drift along the Torne River.The snow is sprayed on huge steel forms and allowed to freeze. After a couple of days, the forms are removed, leaving a maze of free-standing corridors of snow.In the corridors, dividing walls are built in order to create rooms and suites. Ice blocks, harvested at springtime from Torne River, are now being transported into the hotel where selected artists from all over the world start creating the art and design of the perishable material.
21. Icelandic Super Dam
Documentary series that lifts the lid on some of the most incredible structures and machines in the world. This instalment looks at the Karahnjukar Hydroelectric Project in Iceland - an audacious engineering feat that includes the building of Europe's highest dam, the drilling of 30- mile-long tunnels and the construction of a gigantic underground power plant.
22. Itaipu Dam
In the Paraná River of South America, lies the Itaipú Dam. Costing 20 billion dollars, the Itaipú Dam is the world's largest and most powerful hydroelectric power plant. It is a representation of the efforts and accomplishment of two countries, Brazil and Paraguay. The episode examines the efforts undertaken and the sacrifices made to construct the dam, including how the largest diversion channel was constructed to divert water from the world’s 7th largest river away from the main construction site.
23. Kansai International Airport
Located 5 km off the coast of Osaka, Japan, is the Kansai International Airport. The airport is built entirely on a man-made island, 4 km long and 1 km wide. The only link between the island and Osaka is by the world’s longest 2-tiered bridge. Although the airport is built to withstand earthquakes and typhoons, the artificial island itself is sinking faster than anticipated. The episode looks at the various measures that are taken to keep the airport ‘afloat’, and the various facilities and services available to keep the airport running.