In the Persian Gulf, the world's largest artificial islands are being constructed in the shape of the earth's continents. This ambitious engineering feat is part of a plan to transform Dubai into one of the world's premiere tourist destinations
The Finnish construction of cruise liner Freedom of the Seas, which was launched in 2006 and, at 18 storeys in height and a quarter of a mile in length, is the largest in the world. As cameras show the many features such as the surf park and ice rink, experts investigate whether at 160,000 tonnes this is the maximum size ocean-going technology will reach before having too great a mass to float
Michael makes a remarkable visit to Göreme, where the rocks have been carved to form homes and some of the most remarkable churches of the early Christian era. Leaving the Cappodocia region by balloon, he sails east towards the borders of the New Europe, which if Turkey were to join the European Union would include Iran, Iraq and Syria
Michael travels from Transdniester, a breakaway state from the Republic of Moldova, to the Vaser Valley in Romania, where he joins 80 lumberjacks as they board a wood-fired steam train. He finally ends up at Bran Castle in Transylvania, the ancestral home of Vlad the Impaler and alleged home of Bram Stoker's Dracula
At a time when most ships were built to traditional designs in wood, and powered by sail, Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s colossal ship, the Great Eastern, was almost 700 feet long and built of iron. His vision was that it should carry 4,000 passengers, in magnificent style, as far as the Antipodes - without needing to refuel.
In 1869, John Roebling won the contract to build the largest bridge in the world, the Brooklyn Bridge in New York. It was to stretch 1,600 feet, in one giant leap, across the wide and turbulent East River that separates New York from Brooklyn.
Dan Cruickshank explores the mysteries and secrets of the bridges that have made London what it is. He uncovers stories of bronze-age relics emerging from the Vauxhall shore, of why London Bridge was falling down.
This episode focuses on the 1980s, when modern architecture was deeply unpopular and under attack from the Prince of Wales. The architects reveal the dramatic stories behind some of their most famous creations, including Rogers\'s Lloyd\'s of London building and Foster\'s Stansted Airport.
The most iconic of the royal tombs however was built as the tomb for Khufu. Located at Giza, the Great Pyramid is the last of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Ancient World’ that still survives. Although built to be the tomb of Pharaoh Khufu, his actual tomb was never found.
Dyckhoff explores how the design of our homes works secretly to influence our behaviour. Light, room size, layout, proportion and materials all have measurable effects on our lives.
So why do we accept the smallest windows and the smallest room sizes in Europe? And what can we do about it?
Our workplace - from schools to offices and factories - should inspire us, motivate us and bring out the best of our abilities. But are these spaces doing just the opposite?
Tom Dyckhoff makes some revelatory and shocking discoveries about how the buildings in which we spend our working life can physically change our brain, and shows why open-plan offices are bad spaces to work in.
Armed with this new knowledge, Dyckhoff meets and challenges pre-eminent architects including Norman Foster and Zaha Hadid to re-evaluate their creations.
He brings them face-to-face with the people who use their buildings every day. He even tries working in their buildings himself while taking part in an experiment to measure the impact on his brain.
What do the results show about working in these spaces? Have we become so obsessed with iconic exteriors that we've stopped thinking about the people inside them?
And is it possible to design a building that makes us feel happy while making us more productive too?
Tom Dyckhoff looks at how we're affected by the design of buildings we visit in our leisure time. He argues that architects are now designing buildings that are all about spectacle and cheap thrills (however expensive to build), and have forgotten the true purpose of 'play': to bring people together for a communal experience.
From shopping malls to football stadiums and museums, Tom discovers how important play is in our lives and argues controversially that, ever since the commercial success of the Guggenheim in Bilbao, the buildings we're being given to play in are damaging us.
With their increasingly crazy, computer-designed looks, they may seem playful, but these individualistic, flashy, narcissistic icons produce an increasingly alienating and fragmented landscape where we feel less joined up and less playful, and make less sense of our world, not more.