Premiere Alert: Built From Disaster

Written by TVSA Team from the blog Discovery Channel on 06 Jan 2009
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A new series Built From Disaster premieres on Discovery this Tuesday, 6 January 2009 at 21h00.

The show explores some of the key disasters of the world and uncovers the tragic stories that have impacted on the resulting design and development of modern construction.

Each episode identifies major tragic disasters that have had a radical impact on subsequent buildings or structures, such as bridges, stadiums, skyscrapers and ships - both in the immediate aftermath and also in the longer term future.

Each investigation includes a look at the forensic approach taken to analyse how and why a disaster occurred and demonstrates how the lessons learned have played out in future projects in terms design, engineering, method of construction and materials used.

Episodes in January are as follows:

Episode 1: Stadiums
On: Tuesday, 6 January 2009 at 21h00

This episode follows the construction of a state-of-the-art new stadium for Valencia Football Club in Spain and looks at the impact of past stadium disasters on the stadium's design.

No other type of structure packs so many people so closely together in such an emotionally charged atmosphere; the biggest danger in a stadium is the crowd itself, which can turn into an unstoppable force as deadly as a tidal wave.

One of the past events investigated is the soccer disaster that happened in South Africa, at Ellis Park Stadium in 2001.


The episode also looks at how the spectacular Beijing Olympic Stadium can withstand an earthquake of the severity that hits once in three millennia, and how most of Britain's major soccer grounds were built by a man who saw his first stadium collapse - with fatal results.

Episode 2: Bridges
On: Tuesday, 13 January 2009 at 21h00

In August 2, 2007, during a busy rush-hour in the city of Minneapolis in the American Mid-West, the entire span of an interstate bridge broke into pieces and collapsed into the Mississippi River. Thirteen people died.

The carnage was caught live on CCTV and the images sent shock waves around the world. The nation was in panic. How could this happen? And could it happen again?

This episode looks at major bridge disasters, including the Minneapolis collapse, talks to survivors and shows how engineers are learning from past failures to build ever more ambitious bridges.

With access to the inner workings of these super-structures the episode reveals the secrets of how engineers are fighting the elements.

Episode 3: Ships
On: Tuesday, 20 January 2009 at 21h00


At sea, you don’t get a second chance. Once out of sight of land the only thing you can depend on is your ship, and tragically, for thousands of people, the ship has let them down. But out of every catastrophe comes knowledge, from the Titanic to the Estonia, every disaster at sea has had a radical effect on the design of the ships that followed.

Examining the latest in Arctic cruise liners and hi-tech, high speed passenger catamarans, this episode shows how ships have become more technologically advanced than ever before, and by following the building of one of the world’s most advanced and luxurious vessels, Ruby Princess, the design secrets that allow modern passenger ships to operate safely, with thousands of passengers and crew on board will be revealed.

Episode 4: Skyscrapers
On: Tuesday, 27 January 2009 at 21h00


This episode reveals how the revolution in the design and construction of skyscrapers over the past 50 years has been driven by the lessons learnt from major disasters across the globe. The consequences of structural weakness, fires or collapse in such tall and crowded structures can be catastrophic.

The world's leading engineers and builders have used cutting edge technology to come up with completely different ways of making these buildings higher, stronger and safer.

Further episodes will follow in February.

1 Comment

06 Jan 2009 14:56

That’s what I call quality TV. Will record the show since the commander in chief will want to watch Muvhango or whatever it is called. Also to avoid seeing the same nauseating ads from Discovery channel.

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