Megastructures is a documentary television series appearing on the National Geographic Channel in the United States and the United Kingdom, Channel 5 in the United Kingdom, France 5 in France, and 7mate in Australia.

Narrated byJonathan Hart, Tom Goodman-Hill, Greg Stebner, Marlon Singleton
Theme music composerDavid Sharp
Composer(s)Stuart Fox (1 episode)
Country of originUS
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons6
No. of episodes100+
Producer(s)Hoff Productions (16 eps)
Running time1-hour (inc. commercials)
Original networkNational Geographic Channel, Channel 5, France 5, 7mate[1]
Original release2004 
External links
Production website

Each episode is an educational look of varying depth into the construction, operation, and staffing of various structures or construction projects, but not ordinary construction products.

Generally containing interviews with designers and project managers, it presents the problems of construction and the methodology or techniques used to overcome obstacles. In some cases (such as the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge and Petronas Towers) this involved the development of new materials or products that are now in general use within the construction industry.

Megastructures focuses on constructions that are extreme; in the sense that they are the biggest, tallest, longest, or deepest in the world. Alternatively, a project may appear if it had an element of novelty or are a world first (such as Dubai's Palm Islands). This type of project is known as a megaproject.

The series follows similar subjects as the History Channel's Modern Marvels and Discovery Channel's Extreme Engineering, covering areas of architecture, transport, construction and manufacturing.


Season 1 (2004)

# Country Title Subject Original Airdate
01 United StatesUSS Ronald ReaganNimitz-class supercarrier for the U.S. Navy — USS Ronald Reagan is a 4.5 billion-dollar Nimitz-class supercarrier. Powered by two nuclear reactors, the 1,100 ft (340 m) long vessel is equipped with all the necessary facilities to house 6,000 personnel and over 80 aircraft. Viewers are given an exclusive look at how the crew of this 'floating naval base' is put through a series of tests in order to obtain their flight deck certification. Take a glimpse at the various facilities on the ship that keep the 6,000-strong crew fed, rested, and entertained.2004-09-15
02 GermanyAutobahnGerman Autobahnen — What began as a racing track grew into a sophisticated high-speed road system, linking to almost all the major cities in Germany. The Autobahn boasts super thick road beds, 4% or less grades, wide lanes, and utilises sophisticated technology.2004-09-19
03 United Kingdom
Channel TunnelUndersea tunnel between Coquelles, France and Folkestone, United Kingdom — 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, it totals 153 km in length. This episode looks at the race between the British and the French to complete the tunnelling of the Channel Tunnel and the obstacles faced in its construction.2004-09-22
04 United StatesSears Tower (now the Willis Tower)Tallest building in Chicago, Illinois — 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 kilometre 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 tower's secrets. And get a behind-the-scenes look at some of the various systems and controls that are vital to the building, such as security monitoring, elevators, the water and power distribution that supplies its many floors, and even the machines that clean the windows.2004-09-29
05 JapanKansai International AirportAirport on artificial island in Osaka Bay — 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. This episode looks at various measures that are taken to keep the airport 'afloat,' and the various facilities and services available to keep the airport running.2004-10-13
06 JapanAkashi Kaikyo BridgeWorld's longest suspension bridge — In 1955, two ferries sank along the Akashi Strait in Japan, killing 168 children. The tragedy led to 30 years of research to design a bridge that would link Awaji Island to Kobe. The bridge would need to be able to withstand severe earthquakes and typhoons. In 1988, Japan began construction of the world's longest, highest and most expensive suspension bridge. This episode presents a stage by stage look at the construction of the bridge, and the obstacles faced in its construction, including the Kobe earthquake in 1995.2004-10-20
07 Brazil  ParaguayThe World's Most Powerful Dam (Itaipu Dam)Dam on the Paraná River — 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 the culmination of the efforts, accomplishments, and co-operation of two countries, Brazil and Paraguay. This 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.2004-10-27
08 MalaysiaPetronas TowersTwin tower skyscraper in Kuala Lumpur — Designed by Cesar Pelli, the Petronas Towers were the tallest buildings as of their completion date. Located in Kuala Lumpur, the 88 story, 450m tall twin towers carry an Islamic geometrical influence, and are a symbol of Malaysian pride. To foster competition, the contract for the construction of the towers was awarded to two different construction companies, each assigned to work on one of the towers. This episode examines the race between the companies to each complete their tower first, as well as various construction challenges, including soil quality issues, the unique cement mixture that was needed as a steel substitute, and tropical weather.2004-11-10
09 United StatesInside a Super CasinoThe Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey — Megastructures gets an inside look at the 13-year design and construction of Atlantic City's towering new casino, the Borgata.2004-12-01
10 United StatesMoney FactoryU.S. Treasury2004-12-31

Season 2 (2005)

# Country Title Subject Original Airdate
01 United StatesGolden Gate BridgeIconic bridge over San Francisco Bay in San Francisco2005-03-02
02 United StatesAlcatrazFormer prison island in San Francisco Bay, California2005-03-16
03 United StatesInside The PentagonHeadquarters of the US Department of Defense in Arlington, Virginia2005-04-01
04 SingaporeWorld's Busiest PortPort of Singapore, Republic of Singapore2005-05-13
05 South AfricaTau Tona, City of GoldWorld's deepest mining operations in Carletonville, South Africa2005-05-21
06 United StatesLas Vegas2005-06-22
07 CanadaBlack Gold (Oil Mine)Syncrude and Shell Canada in oil sands located in Alberta, Canada2005-07-20
08 CanadaDiamond DiggersEkati Diamond Mine, Canada's first diamond mine, near Lac De Gras, Northwest Territories, Canada2005-07-27
09 United StatesSea LaunchOcean Odyssey and Sea Launch Commander2005-08-03
10 NetherlandsNorth Sea WallDelta Works2005-08-17
11 United Arab EmiratesThe World's Most Extreme Island (Impossible Islands)[2]Dubai's artificial palm islands, United Arab Emirates2005-09-13
12 United StatesIndianapolis Motor SpeedwayCar racetrack in Speedway, Indiana2005-09-13
13 NetherlandsPort of Rotterdam (Super Port)The largest port in Europe, in Rotterdam, Netherlands2005-09-20
14 United StatesAir Force Transport (Mega Plane)C-5 Galaxy with the U.S. Air Force2005-09-20
15 United StatesNorth Branch Correctional Institution (Hi-Tech Prison)High Security Prison, Allegany County, Maryland2005-09-27
16 FranceAirbus A380 (World's Biggest Airliner)Biggest jumbo jet in commercial service2005-10-04
17 United StatesUSS VirginiaVirginia-class submarine with the U.S. Navy2005-10-11
18 United StatesUltimate CasinoVenetian Hotel Resort Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada2005-10-18
19 United StatesThe Ultimate Roller coasterKingda Ka roller coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure theme part in Jackson, New Jersey2005-10-25
20 United StatesSpy Fortress NORADNorth American Aerospace Defense Command, Colorado2005-10-25
21 GermanyBerlin Train Terminal (Berlin's Grand Central)Berlin Hauptbahnhof station in Berlin, Germany2005-11-15
22 United StatesBoston's Big DigCentral Artery / Tunnel Project in Boston, Massachusetts2005-11-22
23 NetherlandsUltimate Oil RigsConstruction of new oil rigs2005-12-06
24 KazakhstanBaikonur CosmodromeRussian space launch facility in Tyuratam, Kazakhstan2005-12-13
25 United StatesInside Grand CentralRailroad terminal in New York City.2005-12-18
26 FranceWorld's Tallest Bridge (Millau Bridge)viaduct near Millau, France2005-12-20
27 ChinaMega ShipOrient Overseas Container Line / OOCL Atlanta ship2005-12-27
28-Deep Sea Drillers2005-12-31

Season 3 (2006)

# Country Title Subject Original Airdate
01 GermanyBerlin WallWall dividing Germany during the Cold War2006-03-14
02 Denmark  SwedenImpossible Bridges: Denmark to SwedenOresund Bridge between Copenhagen and Malmö, Sweden2006-04-18
03 GreeceImpossible Bridges: GreeceRio–Antirrio bridge, Gulf of Corinth, Greece2006-05-02
04 United StatesHoover DamColorado River border between Nevada and Arizona in USA2006-05-16
05 United StatesInside "NCIS"Naval Criminal Investigative Service of the U.S. Navy2006-05-30
06 United StatesGarbage MountainPuente Hills Landfill in Whittier, California2006-08-01
07 SwedenIce HotelWorking hotel made of ice near Jukkasjärvi, Sweden2006-08-01
08 SupertankerSeri Amanah, a Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) carrier ship2006-08-31
09 United States"Megafactories": Apache HelicopterBoeing Defense, Space & Security plant in Mesa, Arizona2006-09-28
10 PanamaPanama Canal UnlockedPanama Canal Expansion Project, Central America2006-10-19
11 Italy"Megafactories": FerrariFerrari S.p.A. factory in Maranello, Italy2006-12-07
12 IcelandRockeaters of IcelandKárahnjúkar Hydropower Plant2006-12-31

Season 4 (2007–2008)

# Country Title Subject Original Airdate
01 United Arab EmiratesWorld's Tallest HotelBurj al-Arab Hotel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates2007-07-09
02 MalaysiaSMART TunnelSMART Tunnel for road and storm water drainage in Kuala Lumpur to relieve traffic congestion as well as to prevent flooding within the city2007-07-14
03 BermudaRMS Queen Mary 22007-07-16
04 United StatesSouth Pole StationA science facility at the South Pole (Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station)2007-11-06
05 ChinaBeijing Water CubeBeijing National Aquatics Center built for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics2008-05-13[3]
06 United StatesBridge BreakdownDemolition of the (1927) Carquinez Bridge in the San Francisco Bay Area2008-05-15
07 United States747 DestructionEvergreen Air Center storage facility for decommissioned aeroplanes in Marana, Arizona2008-05-16
08 ChinaShanghai Super TowerShanghai World Financial Centre in Shanghai, China2008-05-20[3]
09 ChinaChina's Ultimate PortYangshan Port in Hangzhou Bay2008-05-27[3]
10 United StatesSinking an aircraft carrierCreating the world's largest artificial reef with USS Oriskany in the Gulf of Mexico off Florida2008-05-29
11 FinlandThe World's Biggest Cruise LinerThe building of cruise liner MS Freedom of the Seas2008-06-04
12 ChinaBeijing Olympic Stadiumthe building of the main stadium for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics2008-08-05
13 ChinaWorld's Biggest CasinoThe Venetian Macao, the world's biggest casino in Macau?
14 IcelandIcelandic Super DamThe building of the Kárahnjúkar Hydropower Plant, Europe's biggest dam in Iceland?
15 GermanyFuture TrainsMaglev train?
16 United Arab EmiratesBuilding the WorldThe World (archipelago) of artificial islands in Dubai?
17 United StatesTrain Wreckthe recycling of obsolete train locomotives in the USA?
18 ChinaBuilding Green Beijing2010 environmental improvement plan in Beijing, China?
19 France  SwitzerlandAtom SmasherThe Large Hadron Collider at CERN near Geneva, Switzerland?
20 ChinaImpossible Bridges: ChinaLupu Bridge in Shanghai, Runyang Bridge in Jiangsu Province, and Sutong Bridge near Suzhou?
21 United StatesUltimate Sub (Super Sub)USS Texas (Virginia-class submarine) in the U.S. Navy?
22 Spain United StatesMan Made SunExperimental solar collection farms in Spain and near Las Vegas, Nevada?
23 United KingdomSuper PipelineGas pipeline from Norway to Great Britain?
24 United StatesHawaii Superferrycatamaran ferry service between Hawaiian Islands from 2007 to 2009?
25 United StatesDeep Earth DrillersThe world's largest geothermal power complex2008
26 BahrainWorld Trade Center BahrainWorld Trade Center (Manama)2008
27 United KingdomThe World's Biggest ShredderThe 560 tonne "fragmentiser" based at Newport Docks.2008
28 United StatesEarthquake GlasshouseAcademy of Sciences, California2008

Season 5 (2009–2010)

# Country Title Subject Original Airdate
01 United StatesExtreme HelicopterS-64 Skycrane2009-06-16
02 United StatesSkyscraper (Ultimate Skyscraper)Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park, NYC2009-10-01
03 United KingdomUK Super Train / Britain's New RailwayHigh Speed 12010-01-08
04?Wave Energy2010-05-27
05?Secrets of Oscar Tar Bridge2010-10-09
06 ChinaChina's Smart Tower2010-11-26
07 United StatesFuture BridgeFollow the record-breaking effort to rebuild the Minneapolis I-35W bridge in only 17 months, with a focus on its unique engineering2010

Season 6 (2011)

# Country Title Subject Original Airdate
01 United Arab EmiratesThe Leaning Tower of Abu Dhabi2011-01-28
02 TurkeyTime Bomb TunnelBuilding the Marmaray Tunnel, a 13.5 km (8.4 mi) long undersea railway tunnel in Istanbul, Turkey.2011-01-29
03 SingaporeSingapore's Vegas[4][5]Building the Marina Bay Sands Resort and Casino in Singapore2011-02-03 on 7mate[1]
04 ChinaWorld's Tallest TV TowerBuilding one of the world's tallest TV towers, the Guangzhou Sightseeing and TV Tower (now called the Canton Tower2011-02-11 on 7mate[1]
05 TaiwanEcoark2011-03-27
06 South KoreaKorean SuperlinkBusan-Geoje Fixed Link2011-11-17

Unknown season

# Country Title Subject Original Airdate
09 Bosnia and HerzegovinaBridge of Mostar2004
25 United KingdomLondon Olympic Stadium2012-05-03
26 United Arab EmiratesWorld's Tallest SkyscraperBurj Khalifa2012-09-17
27 United StatesPhantom jetF-4 jet?
28 KazakhstanWorlds Biggest TentKhan Shatyr Entertainment Center?
30 MalaysiaSecond Penang BridgeThe building of the second bridge connecting Peninsular Malaysia to Penang Island spanning a total of 24 km, and 16.9 km of that over water2014-09-16
31 IndiaIndia's Solar Power HouseKamuthi Solar Power Project?
32 IndiaMundra PortMundra Port?

Unknown season 2

# Country Title Subject Original Airdate
01-"Machines of War": TanksHistory and evolution of the tank2006-03-08
02-"Machines of War": Cruise MissileThe history and development of the cruise missile2006-03-10
3?Science of SteelThe world's metal construction material of choice2006-03-11
12-"Machines of War": GunsThe history and evolution of the gun2006-03-13
14-Science of BrickThe world's oldest man-made building material2006-03-15
15-Science of ConcreteThe world's most used building material2006-03-16


Megastructures: Built from Disaster

  1. "Megastructures: Built from Disaster – Bridges" // Wednesday, 26 August 2009 8–9pm on Channel 5
  2. "Megastructures: Built from Disaster – Ships" // Thursday, 3 September 2009 8–9pm on Channel 5
  3. "Megastructures: Built from Disaster – Tunnels" // Thursday, 10 September 2009 8–9pm on Channel 5
  4. "Megastructures: Built from Disaster – Stadiums" // Thursday, 24 September 2009 8–9pm on Channel 5
  5. "Megastructures: Built from Disaster – Trains" // Thursday, 8 October 2009 8–9pm on Channel 5
  6. "Megastructures: Built from Disaster – Skyscrapers" // Thursday, 15 October 2009 8–9pm on Channel 5

Ancient Megastructures

  1. "Ancient Megastructures: Chartres Cathedral" // Series 1
  2. "Ancient Megastructures: The Colosseum" // Series 1
  3. "Ancient Megastructures: The Great Pyramid" // Series 1
  4. "Ancient Megastructures: St Paul's Cathedral" // Series 2
  5. "Ancient Megastructures: Alhambra" // Series 2
  6. "Ancient Megastructures: Petra" // Series 2
  7. "Ancient Megastructures: Machu Picchu" // Series 2
  8. "Ancient Megastructures: Angkor Wat" // Series 2
  9. "Ancient Megastructures: Istanbul's Hagia Sophia" // Series 2

See also


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