The Best Episodes of MegaStructures

Petronas Towers

#1 - Petronas Towers 9.00

Season 2004 - Episode 8

Designed by Cesar Pelli, the Petronas Towers were the tallest buildings in the world on the date of its completion. Located in Kuala Lumpur, the design of the 88 storey, 450m tall twin towers, carries an Islamic geometrical influence. The towers are a symbol of Malaysia’s pride. To instill competition, the contract for the construction of the towers were awarded to two different construction companies, each company was assigned to work on one of the towers. This episode takes a look at how the construction companies competed to complete their tower before the other. Problems faced, from the soil samples, the unique cement mixture used as a steel substitute, to the tropical weather, are covered.

Directors: Thomas Viner
Akashi Kaikyo Bridge

#2 - Akashi Kaikyo Bridge 8.75

Season 2004 - Episode 6

In 1955, two ferries sank along the Akashi Strait, Japan, killing 168 children. It led to a 30 year research on designing a bridge that would link the Awaji Island to Kobe; the bridge would also have to be able to withstand severe earthquakes and typhoons, a norm in that area. In 1988, Japan began construction of the world’s longest, highest and most expensive suspension bridge, the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge. The episode presents a stage by stage look at the construction of the suspension bridge, and the obstacles faced in its construction, including the Kobe earthquake in 1995.

Directors: Jessica Bassett
Super Carrier: USS Ronald Reagan

#3 - Super Carrier: USS Ronald Reagan 8.50

Season 2004 - Episode 1

The USS Ronald Reagan is a 4.5 billion dollars Nimitz-class supercarrier. Powered by 2 nuclear reactors, the 1100ft. long vessel is equipped with all the necessary facilities to house 6000 personnel and over 80 aircraft. Viewers are given an exclusive look at how the crew of these ‘floating naval base’ is put through a series of test in order to obtain their flight deck certification. Take a glimpse at the various facilities on the ship that keep the 6000 strong crew fed, rested, and entertained.

Directors: Mike Kelly
Sears Tower

#4 - Sears Tower 8.00

Season 2004 - Episode 4

For 20 years, the Sears Tower held the record for the world’s tallest building. Completed in 1973, the 110 stories high building is almost half a kilometer tall. And it still holds the record for having the world’s highest antenna. John Zils, structural engineer and designer of this mega-structure shares some of the secrets about the tower. And get a behind-the-scenes look at some of the various systems and controls that are vital to the building, like security monitoring, the elevators, and the water and power distribution to the various levels, and even the machines that cleans the windows.

Directors: Daryl Ondatje
Itaipu Dam

#5 - Itaipu Dam 8.00

Season 2004 - Episode 7

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.

Directors: Ian Holt
Kansai International Airport

#6 - Kansai International Airport 7.50

Season 2004 - Episode 5

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.

Directors: Alex Perrault
Channel Tunnel

#7 - Channel Tunnel 7.33

Season 2004 - Episode 3

The Channel Tunnel or Euro Tunnel is one of the world’s longest underground rail tunnels, and links England with France. Consisting of two rail tunnels and a small service tunnel in-between, they total 153 km in length. The documentary looks at the race between the British and the French to complete the tunneling of the Channel Tunnel and the obstacles faced in its construction.

Directors: Chris Lent
Impossible Bridges: Greece

#8 - Impossible Bridges: Greece 7.00

Season 2006 - Episode 3

Megastructures chronicles the design and construction of Greece's Rion-Antirion Bridge. The bridges is the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world and spans over the straits of Corinth.