PBS Distribution chronicles Super Skyscrapers on DVD and Blu-ray. Urban planners around the world are building higher and faster than ever before, creating a new generation of skyscrapers that push the limits of engineering, technology and design to become greener, stronger and more luxurious. This is a four-part program that follows the creation of extraordinary buildings and showcases how they revolutionize the ways we live, work and entertain ourselves.
Descriptions of each of the episodes included are below.
One World Trade Center
Recently judged to be the tallest building in the western hemisphere, and soon to be a modern landmark in New York City, the structure featured in One World Trade Center is engineered to be the safest, strongest skyscraper ever built. This episode follows the final year of the soon-to-open edifice’s exterior construction, culminating with the milestone of reaching 1,776 feet. For One World Trade Center’s head of construction Steve Plate – and the scientists, engineers, ironworkers and curtain-wall installers – this job is suffused with the history of the site and a sense of duty to rebuild from the ashes of Ground Zero.
Building the Future takes viewers in and around The Leadenhall Building, a pinnacle of London’s recent avant-garde architecture boom and popularly nicknamed “The Cheese Grater” for its tapered shape and steel exoskeleton. The construction of this newest Financial Centre showpiece forced the team behind The Leadenhall Building to radically rethink every aspect of the traditional building model: its pieces were constructed off-site, delivered to the location and stacked and bolted together “like a giant Lego set.”
When complete, China’s Shanghai Tower will be far more than a skyscraper — it will be a 120-story “Vertical City”: the country’s tallest and the world’s second-tallest building; a collection of businesses, services and hotels boasting a population equal to the country of Monaco in a community built on a footprint the size of a football field. This episode goes behind Shanghai Tower’s interior wall and exterior skin, a place where residents work, play and relax in a series of eight stacked public parks, each more than 120 feet. Built with highly sustainable methods and earning one of China’s best “green ratings,” the structure will dominate Shanghai’s skyline, towering over its neighbors as a testament to the city’s economic success and the ambitions of its wealthy elite.
“The Billionaire Building”
Upon completion, One57 in Manhattan, dubbed “The Billionaire Building,” will rise more than 1,000 feet and 75 stories, making it the tallest residential tower in the western hemisphere and boasting unprecedented views of Central Park. This episode follows the teams tasked with creating, building, designing and selling New York’s most luxurious and most expensive residential skyscraper. Condominiums at One57, described as “the most bespoke skyscraper ever built,” boast state-of-the-art interiors, including double-height ceilings, full-floor apartments, bathrooms clad in the finest Italian marble and handmade kitchens from UK craftsmen.
“It’s clear that a new generation of buildings is rising around the world,” said Dan Oliver, executive producer. “They are extraordinarily complex, strong, tall and safer than ever. It was an amazing project to get behind the scenes in various stages of their development. We got an inside look at how today’s ever-improving technology is literally changing the game in construction, and the way global citizens are living their lives.”