Cover image for Building big
Building big
Macaulay, David.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 2000.
Physical Description:
192 pages ; 29 cm
Reading Level:
1260 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 9.3 5.0 43776.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 6.9 8 Quiz: 23396 Guided reading level: NR.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
NA2555 .M24 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
NA2555 .M24 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
NA2555 .M24 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize
NA2555 .M24 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
NA2555 .M24 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
NA2555 .M24 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
NA2555 .M24 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
NA2555 .M24 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
NA2555 .M24 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
NA2555 .M24 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
NA2555 .M24 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
NA2555 .M24 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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Why this shape and not that? Why steel instead of concrete or stone? Why put it here and not over there? These are the kinds of questions that David Macaulay asks himself when he observes an architectural wonder. These questions take him back to the basic process of design from which all structures begin, from the realization of a need for the structure to the struggles of the engineers and designers to map out and create the final construction.
As only he can, David Macaulay engages readers' imaginations and gets them thinking about structures they see and use every day -- bridges, tunnels, skyscrapers, domes, and dams. In Building Big he focuses on the connections between the planning and design problems and the solutions that are finally reached. Whether a structure is imposing or inspiring, he shows us that common sense and logic play just as important a part in architecture as imagination and technology do. As always, Macaulay inspires readers of all ages to look at their world in a new way.

Author Notes

David Macaulay was born on December 2, 1946 in Lancashire, England, but moved to Bloomfield, New Jersey when he was 11. He received a bachelor's degree in architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Before becoming an author and illustrator, he worked as an interior designer, a junior high school teacher, and instructor of interior design at RISD from 1969 to 1973.

His first book, Cathedral: The Story of Its Construction, was published in 1973. His other books include City, Castle, Pyramid, Mill, Underground, Mosque, The Way Things Work, Rome Antics, Shortcut,and How Machines Work. He has received numerous awards including a Caldecott Honor Medal in 1991 for Black and White and the Washington Children's Book Guild Award for a Body of Non-Fiction Work in 1977. He won the Royal Society young people¿s book prize for the best science books for children for his book How Machines Work.

(Bowker Author Biography) David Macauley is the author & illustrator of many exciting & unusual books for readers of all ages, including, "The New Way Things Work." Superb design, magnificent illustrations, & clearly presented information distinguish all of his books. Whether chronicling the monumental achievements of past civilizations or satirizing modern architecture, he is concerned above all with how constructions are made & what their effects are on people & their lives. He lives in Rhode Island.

(Publisher Provided)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 7 and up. This captivating set of five videos and a companion book explores and pays tribute to some of the world's most impressive architecture and engineering feats. Each of the five videos, hosted and narrated by David Macaulay, focuses on a particular type of structure--dams, skyscrapers, domes, tunnels, and bridges--highlighting international examples of each, from Egypt's Aswan Dam and French cathedrals to Houston's Astrodome and Boston's "Big Dig" tunnel project. Filmed on location and using detailed historical and modern footage and stills, dramatic reenactments, animation, and Macaulay's own on-camera sketches, each segment brings the construction story vividly to life. Macaulay makes the technical elements easily understood as he describes, in exciting human stories, the builders' historical, cultural, environmental, and engineering concerns. In his companion book, Macaulay narrows his focus to the "nuts and bolts" of each structure. In signature sketches and succinct, engaging text, he deconstructs the design and engineering features that make each of the domes, tunnels, skyscrapers, bridges, and dams so exemplary. As usual, Macaulay knows just which view is required--cross section, detail study, elevation--to present the material so that it's easy to understand and appealing to readers. He even includes some subtle humor, such as a pair of cartoon mice on the Chunnel's tracks that note that cheese will become fromage when they reach the end. The videos and the book can easily be used independently, but together they offer a highly entertaining, instructive glimpse at some of construction's greatest stories, giving young people and adults the skills to look more closely at the structures around them. --Gillian Engberg

Publisher's Weekly Review

If ever a book were destined to inspire a future generation of engineers and designers, it would be this volume, a companion to the PBS series of the same name. From Istanbul to New York City, San Francisco to the Firth of Forth, Macaulay circles the globe and spans the centuries to provide a fascinating peek at the inner workings of bridges, tunnels, skyscrapers, domes and dams, each arranged by section with a brief overview. As he delves into the history as well as the mechanics of each projectDan all-star lineup of engineering icons that includes the Pantheon, Hoover Dam, the Channel Tunnel and the Chrysler Building Macaulay is in his element, nimbly deploying his gift for making the arcane accessible. For instance, he describes Brunel's shield, a tedious but successful tunnel-boring aid used under the Thames in the early 19th century, as "a bit like a platoon of creaking Star Wars robots leaning against each other for support as they inch their way nervously through the muck." Macaulay constructs the volume as thoughtfully as an engineer, explaining in his opening note on bridges, "They are in a sense three-dimensional diagrams of the work they do, and this makes them ideal subjects with which to begin." Each section connects to the next with intelligence and humor (e.g., his opening to the tunnels section: "While bridges, skyscrapers, domes and even a few dams enjoy varying amounts of popularity, I think it's fairly safe to say that only an engineer could love a tunnel"). His trademark cutaway views and diagrams also illuminate and instruct as they illustrate. Readers will not only enjoy an intimate look at specific structures, but ultimately come away with a broad overview of how modern engineering evolved. Macaulay fosters in readers a keen appreciation for the role of logic, imagination and perseverance in vaulting over impediments and bringing a project to completion. All ages. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5 Up-Sheer awe is likely to be readers' response to this nuts-and-bolts companion to the recent PBS series of the same name. Building Big focuses on the connections between the planning and design problems presented by ambitious construction proj-ects, and their solutions. Highlighting some, but not all, of the same examples from the TV series, the book covers bridges, tunnels, dams, domes, and skyscrapers, with 4 to 10 sites provided for each from around the world. Structures range from the old (Rome's Ponte Fabricio and Pantheon) to the new (Boston's Big Dig, Kuala Lumpur's Petronas Towers). The compelling narrative is accessible to even the most engineering challenged. Readers learn that bridges "willingly reveal important things about why and how they were built," whereas tunnels are "painfully shy cousins." Carefully labeled color sketches, maps, diagrams, sections, and plans (all rendered in a limited palette of muted earth tones) abound in numerous single and double-page spreads and dovetail neatly with text. A precise table of contents mitigates the lack of an index. Building Big is an intoxicating, synergistic blend of good writing and better art that distills the complexities of "big" construction.-Mary Ann Carcich, Suffolk County Community College Library, Riverhead, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. 7
Bridgesp. 9
Ponte Fabriciop. 11
Iron Bridgep. 15
Britannia Bridgep. 16
Garabit Viaductp. 20
Firth of Forthp. 24
Golden Gate Bridgep. 30
Ponte de Normandiep. 52
Tunnelsp. 57
Two Ancient Tunnelsp. 58
Hoosac Tunnelp. 60
Thames Tunnelp. 69
Holland Tunnelp. 76
The Channel Tunnelp. 78
The Big Digp. 87
Damsp. 93
Ita Damp. 94
Hoover Damp. 111
Aswan High Damp. 118
Itaipu Damp. 122
Domesp. 129
Pantheonp. 131
Hagia Sophiap. 136
Sehzade Mosquep. 140
St. Peter's Basilicap. 141
Les Invalidesp. 144
St. Paul's Cathedralp. 144
United States Capitolp. 145
Astrodomep. 154
Skyscrapersp. 161
Reliance Buildingp. 162
Woolworth Buildingp. 166
Chrysler Buildingp. 167
Empire State Buildingp. 168
John Hancock Centerp. 174
World Trade Centerp. 175
Sears Towerp. 176
Citigroup Centerp. 179
Petronas Towersp. 180
Commerzbank Frankfurtp. 186
Glossaryp. 192