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Building Big: Skyscrapers

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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(Oct 26, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

Tour the towers that made history and altered the future. Why was New York’s most famous skyscraper dubbed the "Empty State Building?" How big is Japan’s planned "supertower?" Tour the world’s most incredible skylines with award-winning author-illustrator—and captivating storyteller—David Macaulay (The Way Things Work) and trace the amazing stories of skyscrapers. From France’s Gothic cathedrals to Malaysia’s record-breaking Petronas Towers, Skyscrapers introduces courageous creators, recounts little known history, and reveals supersized triumphs through spectacular film footage and dramatic recreations.

- Discover how a medieval feud between rival Italian families helped create some of the world’s earliest skyscrapers
- Meet Gustave Eiffel, whose experience as a bridge builder produced one of the world’s most famous towers
- View rare footage of the Empire State Building’s construction, and learn what drove one of the building’s contractors to a nervous breakdown
- Learn how design flaws in New York’s Citicorp Center could have led to the greatest skyscraper catastrophe in history
- Bonus activity! Build a mini-skyscraper using only newspaper, a few books, and an electric fan

David Macaulay hosts Building Big, the five-part series that brings you the amazing truth behind the greatest manmade wonders of the world. From the top of the Golden Gate Bridge to inside the Hoover Dam, Building Big travels the world exploring Bridges, Tunnels, Dams, Skyscrapers and Domes in unforgettable, really big adventures.

Includes bonus hands-on building activity designed for kids.


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: David Macaulay
  • Directors: Joseph McMaster
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: October 26, 2004
  • Run Time: 65 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002XVSF6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,729 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Skyscrapers is the fifth and final episode in the Building Big series by David Macaulay. The first four episodes cover Bridges, Tunnels, Dams, and Domes, all structures that people have known for centuries. Skyscrapers may have their roots in the towers of Italy, but they have reached their height of popularity in the last 150 years. Early skyscrapers were of stone, but steel and elevators made the hundred story and taller glass and steel boxes possible. Skyscrapers got their big boost in Chicago in the last 19th Century but it was the small island of Manhattan that needed them most. Today some of the most impressive towers are built in Asia but the quest for the tallest structure drives the skyline ever higher. Macaulay always throws in a little drama and in this episode discusses collapses and fires. With new technology in the future, the sky is the limit.
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Simply put, this is an outstanding introductory overview of skyscrapers covering their history, functions, symbolism, design, and construction. They can't go into much depth in less than an hour, but they still manage to cover enough ground (pun intended) to make this documentary very worthwhile. Highly recommended for the whole family. I really enjoyed this, and will be watching it again.
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