15 construction documentaries and TV series you have to watch

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Construction documentaries and TV series

  1. Extreme Engineering (2003-2011)
  2. Modern Marvels (1995-2015)
  3. How It’s Made (2001-present)
  4. How Do They Do It (2006-present)
  5. MythBusters (2003-2016)
  6. Megastructures (2004-Present)
  7. Treehouse Masters (2013-present)
  8. Egypt: Engineering an Empire (2006)
  9. e2 (2006-2008)
  10. Precise Poetry: Lina Bo Bardi’s Architecture (2014)

So for some reason you have to spend the day at home. But you quickly realize that there are no interesting options on TV. What better choice than a construction documentary or Netflix series?

Finding the best construction related programs out there may indeed be tough! But there’s  no reason to worry about it. We made some good research and we present to you a quick run-down of the best construction documentaries and documentary series. All you have to do is grab a comfort seat and get ready to enjoy.

1. Extreme Engineering (2003-2011)

Extreme Engineering was a magnificent documentary TV show that aired on the Science and the Discovery Channel. We join the host Danny Foster to the exploration of the most spectacular feats of engineering. Watch amazing, yet physically possible, construction projects like the over 1200 meter long Freedom Ship and the 14 kilometer long Gibraltar Bridge. During the years the TV series changed their name to Build It Bigger but they remained one of the most fascinating shows about construction and engineering.

No. of seasons: 9
Imdb user rating: 7.9

2. Modern Marvels (1995-2015)

This American worldwide History Channel and PBS series were going on for nearly twenty years. Modern Marvels has created more than 650 episodes about numerous topics like technology, architecture, science, manufacturing and mechanics. Have a look on how engineers created and continue innovating today’s world. The sub-series Engineering Disasters is also a must-watch. Building collapses, airplane crashes and other cases where technology lost the battle with nature.

No. of seasons: 19
Imdb user rating: 8.1

3. How It’s Made (2001-present)

How It’s Made is a documentary TV series that premiered in 2001 on the Discovery and Science Channel in Canada and the United States respectively. Observe how items from our daily lives (clothing, accessories, bubble gum etc.), mechanical devices (engines) and sporting equipment are built. Bet you will never see your sneakers with the same eye again!

No. of seasons: 28
Imdb user rating: 7.8

4. How Do They Do It (2006-present)

Another great show by Discovery and Science Channel. Ever wonder how lava lamps are built? Or how do hotels have always hot water? Here’s your chance to learn! Take a look at smaller and bigger engineering marvels and become a bit more aware of what’s going on around you.

No. of seasons: 14
Imdb user rating: 7.4

5. MythBusters (2003-2016)

If you haven’t heard of MythBusters there’s a good chance that you have been abandoned on a deserted island the last couple of years. Jamie Hyneman and his co-host Adam Savage introduce us on a bunch of pretty impressive and… explosive adventures. They try to test the validity of general scientific and cultural theories.
How is this relevant to the construction field? They casually create explosions and experiment with different things like attempting to cut a car in half with an elevator surrogate!

No. of seasons: 15
Imdb user rating: 8.3

6. Megastructures (2004-Present)

A great journey to some of the biggest construction projects in the world. We gain access to some of the most fascinating construction sites around the globe and learn all we need to know about some of the most ambitious projects that have ever been designed.

No. of seasons: 8
Imdb user rating: 7.4

7. Treehouse Masters (2013-present)

An interesting suggesting by Animal Planet is the show Treehouse Masters. Pete Nelson and his team are working together in order to create some amazing wooden structures. The uniques treehouses that delivers in every episode is a good reason for continuing watching the series every week.

No. of seasons: 8
Imdb user rating: 7.5

8. Egypt: Engineering an Empire (2006)

Even 5000 years later, The Great Pyramid complex of Giza is still one of the most significant construction wonders in history. Host Peter Weller sheds light on the whole story behind the building of the Pyramids. Find out about the pharaohs who gave the command for their building and the architects who came up with the design of those unprecedented structures.

Length: 90 minutes
Imdb user rating: 7.9

9. e2 (2006-2008)

Aired on PBS and hosted by Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt, this documentary series focuses on the pioneers who try hard in order to bring technological and environmental progress together. Environmentally friendly cities, famous architects who apply the concept of sustainability to their work and various “green” initiatives are the points of interest in this eye-catching effort.

Length: 1 hour, 48 minutes
Imdb user rating: 7.1

Check out also: 25 Epic Construction Fails

10. Precise Poetry: Lina Bo Bardi’s Architecture (2014)

A movie dedicated to the brilliant architect Lina Bo Bardi, who managed to bring poetry and architecture together thanks to the precision of her work. In the film, we have the opportunity to hear Bo Bardi’s friends and co-workers talking about all the different parameters in her professional and personal life that made her such an admirable figure in the field of architecture. The language of the film is Portuguese but fortunately English subtitles are available.

Length: 63 minutes
Not rated

11. Mechanical Marvels: Clockwork Dreams

An interesting choice for mechanical engineers and clockwork fanatics. This great documentary produced by BBC Four allows us to learn more about the clockwork mechanics. Remarkable mechanic systems of past centuries are revealing before our eyes. Professor Simon Schaffer does also an amazing job in presenting the show.

Length: 1 hour
Imdb user rating: 8.0

12. Five Master Houses of the World (2009)

What would you think of having the chance to travel around different continents and learn the stories behind five phenomenal houses designed by the best architects in the world? Well, Rax Rinnekangas did it and the final result is magnificent. In this documentary film series (5 parts), you can discover some of the best architects in the previous century and get an insight of their magnificent work. All five films are in English.

Length: approx. 60 minutes
Not rated

13. Objectified (2009)

A feature-length documentary about our connection with constructed objects and their designers. You’ll learn how objects that surround us in our everyday life are created and you will have the chance to witness world-class technical designers talking about their professional and creative objectives.

Length: 1 hour, 16 minutes
Imdb user rating: 7.1

14. Rotterdam 2040

Past is the basis for the future and the reconstruction of Rotterdam could be no exemption. La Rivière takes us on a trip through time in the Dutch town. The story begins just before the bombings and extends into the present and the future of Rotterdam’s architecture. The last stop of our trip is year 2040 when the people of Rotterdam will celebrate both the 700 year anniversary of their city and the 100th anniversary of the bombings. Through civil and architecture regeneration the film focuses on people.

Length: 1 hour 32 minutes
Imdb user rating: 6.4

15. Engineer Guy

Our final suggestion is mostly for them who prefer spending their time on YouTube. Bill Hammack put together a truly interesting engineering channel where he analyzes a number of different technological inventions. In his channel, you can learn about the chemical history of a candle, the story behind the an alignment optical telescope or even how a film projector works.

No. of channel subscribers: 607.194


So if you feel like learning more about constructions and engineering make sure to watch some of the documentaries and series listed above. It’s fun and it can certainly give you a good idea of what machinery and tools are used on site and what can be the future of construction.

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