Winner 2000

Building Big

Co-production of WGBH-TV Science Unit and Production Group, Inc.

Filmed on four continents and hosted by renowned author/illustrator David Macaulay, Building Big is a unique five-part series about history’s largest and most complex structures and the architects, engineers and builders who dared to erect them. All the world is a classroom as Building Big takes viewers on an absorbing, enlightening journey through historical and technological advances that inspired ancient and modern engineers alike to build higher, longer, deeper and stronger in constructing the bridges, domes, skyscrapers, dams and tunnels that have made civilizations possible. When using his hand-held sketch pad to explain complex engineering concepts and “the way things work,” Mr. Macaulay can be found perched in such precarious locations as the top of the Golden Gate Bridge. Not just for aspiring engineers or builders, this series examines the lasting impact these massive structures have had on cultures and the environment. Executive producer, director, and writer Larry Klein teamed with producer/directors Judith Dawn Hallet, Tom Levenson, Joseph McMaster, and Eugenie Vink and producer Stephanie Munroe to give this mesmerizing series an extraordinarily broad scope. Accompanying the television series was a wide range of educational initiatives and materials that reached far beyond the broadcast-from an interactive website to a classroom video challenging students to construct models to better understand the laws of physics and nature, to hundreds of volunteer engineers sent to schools and shopping malls across the country to connect with the next generation of engineers. Building Big is deserving of a Peabody Award for its magnificent mastery of making the design and construction of mega structures accessible and compelling television.