Transcript: Impossible Engineering Series 4 -Ep 4 - Hudson Yards | Jul 14, 2021

[dramatic music]

Fast clips show images of massive modern engineering structures around the world.

The narrator says FROM THE PLANET'S
MOST STUNNING STATE-OF-THE-ART
STRUCTURES...

At a construction site, an engineer says THIS IS ABSOLUTELY A ONE OF
A KIND STRUCTURE
NO-ONE HAS EVER BUILT ANYTHING
LIKE THIS BEFORE.

Another engineer at a construction site says BOTH PARTS OF THE BUILDING
MOVE IN DIFFERENT DIRECTION
AND DIFFERENT SPEEDS.

The narrator says TO ITS MIGHTIEST MODERN
MACHINES...

A man jetpack flying says WOO-HOO!

A boat crew member says IT'S A HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT
AND IT PRESENTS A MAJOR
CHALLENGE FOR ANY KIND OF
ENGINEERING.

The narrator says NONE WOULD HAVE BEEN
POSSIBLE WITHOUT THE
GROUND-BREAKING INNOVATORS OF
THE PAST.

A man inside a small aircraft says "I've done a lot of crazy things but I think this is the best."

A man riding an old race car says IT'S INCREDIBLE TO THINK
THIS WAS ONCE THE FASTEST CAR IN
THE WORLD.

A pilot riding a jet engine says HOLY MOLEY.

The narrator says IN THIS EPISODE...
THE BIGGEST CONSTRUCTION
PROJECT IN THE HISTORY OF NEW
YORK CITY.

An engineer says WHEN YOU THINK OF ALL THE
THINGS WE HAD TO DO ON THIS SITE
TO MAKE IT POSSIBLE, I MEAN, THE
PROJECT IS JUST ASTOUNDING.

The narrator says OVER ONE AND A HALF MILLION
SQUARE METRES OF SPACE...
CONJURED FROM THIN AIR.

Another engineer says EVERY WEEK WE COME UP WITH
CHALLENGES THAT I'VE NEVER FACED
AS AN ENGINEER.

The narrator says AND THE PIONEERING HISTORIC
INNOVATIONS...

A man watches a gas engine work and says THAT FLAME GETS PULLED INTO
THE CYLINDER AND CAUSES AN
EXPLOSION THAT THROWS THE PISTON
UP.

A woman on a boat says THESE BOATS ARE GIGANTIC
AND THESE ARE CONCRETE BOATS,
CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?

The narrator says THAT MADE THE IMPOSSIBLE,
POSSIBLE.

The title slate appears. It looks like a piece of graphing paper full of equations and sketches of an airplane, skyscraper, and monorail. The title reads "Impossible Engineering."

The narrator says MANHATTAN ISLAND, NEW YORK.
26 SQUARE MILES OF SOME OF THE
MOST VALUABLE LAND IN THE
WORLD.
DEMAND FOR SPACE IS HIGH.
BUT SURROUNDED BY WATER,
SPREADING OUT IS NOT AN OPTION.
THE ONLY WAY IS UP - IF YOU CAN
FIND SOMEWHERE TO BUILD.

An engineer says IT'S EXTREMELY DIFFICULT TO
GET A LARGE PLOT IN MANHATTAN
BECAUSE EVERYTHING'S BEEN SPOKEN
FOR OVER 100 YEARS.
SO, BASICALLY, WHEN YOU DO FIND
A LARGE PLOT, CHANCES ARE IT'S
BECAUSE IT'S A RAILROAD YARD.

The narrator says THESE VAST EXPANSES MAY BE
FREE OF BUILDINGS, BUT THEY'RE
STREWN WITH TRACKS.
ANY CONSTRUCTION SEEMS
IMPOSSIBLE.
BUT NOW ON THE WEST SIDE OF
MANHATTAN, AMBITIOUS ENGINEERS
ARE TAKING THAT CHALLENGE ON.
HUDSON YARDS - AMERICA'S
LARGEST REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT
IS BEING BUILT DIRECTLY ON TOP
OF A WORKING RAILYARD.

Eli is in his thirties, with short brown hair and wears glasses, black trousers, a white shirt, a safety vest and a hard hat.

Eli says THE ENGINEERING ON THIS
SITE IS INCREDIBLE.
BUT IT'S NOT ONE INDIVIDUAL
PIECE, RIGHT?
THERE'S A WHOLE SERIES OF
THESE THINGS ADDED TOGETHER.
I MEAN, NOT JUST THAT YOU'RE
DESIGNING A BUILDING, BUT THEN
YOU'RE DESIGNING A COMPLETE
SPECIALTY UNDERLYING STRUCTURE
TO BE ABLE TO SUPPORT THAT.
AND UNLESS YOU LOOK OUT AT THE
WESTERN RAIL YARDS AND SEE THE
TRAINS THERE, YOU HAVE NO IDEA
WHAT'S UNDERNEATH US.

The narrator says CHANGING THE SKYLINE IS NOT
JUST ONE NEW SKYSCRAPER, BUT
SIX, WITH MORE TOWERS TO COME.
GEOFF BUTLER IS THE SENIOR
PROJECT MANAGER ON SITE.

Geoff is in his forties, with short brown hair, and clean-shaven. He wears brown trousers, a pale blue shirt, a safety vest and a hard hat.

Geoff says EACH OF THESE
BUILDINGS IS AN AMAZING
BUILDING.
WE HAVE OVER A MILLION SQUARE
FEET OF RETAIL SPACE.
WE HAVE ALMOST 5 MILLION SQUARE
FEET OF RESIDENTIAL SPACE.
10 MILLION SQUARE FEET
OF COMMERCIAL SPACE.
IT HAS NO COMPARISON IN SCALE.
THERE HAVE BEEN SOME GREAT
DEVELOPMENTS IN NEW YORK, BUT
I'M VERY EXCITED THAT THIS IS
THE BIGGEST AND BEST.

An animated 3D map of Manhattan shows the location of the buildings.

The narrator says BUILT ALMOST ENTIRELY OVER
A GIANT BASE PLATFORM ABOVE A
WORKING RAILYARD, HUDSON YARDS
COVERS A 28 ACRE SITE ON THE
WEST SIDE OF MANHATTAN.
MULTIPLE MEGASTRUCTURES ARE
BEING CONSTRUCTED
SIMULTANEOUSLY, INCLUDING THE
3RD TALLEST TOWER IN NEW YORK,
AN ARTS VENUE THAT CAN APPEAR
FROM NOWHERE, AND A BRAND NEW
PARK CONSTRUCTED FROM SCRATCH.

A caption reads "Geoffrey Butler. Senior Project Manager, Design and Construction for Related Hudson Yards."

He says WHEN HUDSON YARD IS
COMPLETE, WE'LL HAVE 125,000
PEOPLE HERE WORKING, LIVING AND
PLAYING HERE EVERY DAY.
IT'S AN ENTIRE CITY WITHIN A
CITY.

The narrator says BUT THIS AMBITIOUS 25
BILLION DOLLAR PROJECT POSES
IMMENSE ENGINEERING CHALLENGES.
HOW DO YOU BUILD NEW YORK'S
HIGHEST EXTERNAL OBSERVATION
DECK?

Another engineer says WE'RE ABOUT 1050 FEET UP, SO
THE COMBINATION OF ENGINEERING
AND UNDERSTANDING THE
CONSTRUCTION SEQUENCE WAS REALLY
COMPLICATED.

The narrator says IN A CITY BLIGHTED BY POWER
CUTS, HOW DO ENGINEERS KEEP
HUDSON YARDS RUNNING 24-7?

Another engineer says THE FIRMS AT HUDSON YARDS
ABSOLUTELY CANNOT LIVE WITH
THE THREAT OF POWER OUTAGES.

The narrator says BUT IT'S THE SPECIFIC SITE
THAT POSES THE BIGGEST PROBLEM
OF ALL.
JAY CROSS HAS MASTERMINDED THE
PROJECT FROM THE START.

The caption changes to "Jay Cross. President, Related Hudson Yards."

Jay is in his fifties, with short wavy gray hair and wear glasses, a white shirt, a safety vest and a hard hat.

Jay says THE ACTUAL PLOT OF LAND IS
HIGHLY VALUABLE BECAUSE THERE'S
JUST ONLY SO MUCH OF IT -
THERE'S RIVERS ALL AROUND US.
BUT THE WEST SIDE YARD WAS
ALWAYS LIKE THE HOLE IN THE
DONUT BECAUSE IT WAS ALL TRAIN
TRACKS.

The narrator says SPANNING SEVEN CITY BLOCKS,
THE WEST SIDE YARD WAS USED
SOLELY AS RAILWAY SIDINGS FOR
PENN STATION.
THE AUDACIOUS PLAN - TO
CONSTRUCT ON TOP OF THE TRACKS
WHILE THE TRAINS CONTINUE TO
RUN.

Jay says THE ENGINEERING
CHALLENGES WERE SIGNIFICANT, NOT
LEAST OF WHICH WE HAVE TO BUILD
OVER AN OPERATING RAILYARD.
THAT LOGISTICALLY IS A CHALLENGE
UNLIKE ANY OTHER.

The narrator says HOW IS IT POSSIBLE TO BUILD
DIRECTLY OVER 30 ACTIVE TRAIN
TRACKS?
PART OF THE ANSWER IS TO BE
FOUND 715 MILES WEST OF
MANHATTAN.
ARCHITECT MARTY SANDBERG IS
IN CHICAGO... ..DISCOVERING HOW AMBITIOUS
ENGINEERING HELPED A NEWSPAPER
COMPANY OVERCOME THE CONFINES
OF THIS CRAMPED CITY.

Marty is in his thirties, with slightly long curly brown hair and a shadow of a beard. He wears jeans and a blue shirt.

He says IN THE 1920'S, THE
CHICAGO
DAILY NEWS
WAS ONE OF THE
BEST-SELLING PAPERS IN THE CITY
AND, AS A RESULT, THEY HAD
OUTGROWN THEIR CURRENT BUILDING
AND WERE ON THE SEARCH FOR A NEW
HOME.
UNFORTUNATELY, THERE WAS JUST
SIMPLY NO OPEN LAND LEFT AT THAT
TIME.

The narrator says THE PROBLEM WAS THE SAME AS
THAT FACED BY THE HUDSON YARDS
TEAM - THE RAILWAYS.
(TRAIN HORN SOUNDING)
AT THE BEGINNING OF THE
TWENTIETH CENTURY, CHICAGO WAS
THE BUSIEST RAILROAD HUB IN
NORTH AMERICA WITH MORE LINES
RADIATING OUT THAN ANY OTHER
CITY.

Marty says THE DOWNSIDE TO BEING
SUCH A RAIL HUB WAS, AT THE
TIME, CHICAGO WAS LITERALLY
CHOKED OFF BY RAILYARDS ON EVERY
SIDE OF CITY.
YOU HAD YARDS LIKE THIS ON THE
NORTH SIDE, THE WEST SIDE, THE
SOUTH SIDE.
THERE WAS REALLY JUST
PHYSICALLY NOWHERE ELSE TO GROW,
EVEN IF THE CITY WANTED TO.

The narrator says BUT
THE DAILY NEWS
DECIDED
TO ATTEMPT AN EXTRAORDINARY
ENGINEERING FEAT.

Marty says SO, THIS IS THE DAILY
NEWS BUILDING.
I'M A SUCKER FOR A GORGEOUS OLD
LIMESTONE BUILDING, AND THIS IS
A GREAT EXAMPLE OF IT.

The narrator says IN A CITY HEMMED IN BY
TRAIN LINES, HOW DID THEY
MANAGE TO FIND THE SPACE TO
BUILD THIS?
IT WAS DOWN TO A NEW LAW KNOWN
AS 'AIR RIGHTS'.
THE DAILY NEWS
HAD BOUGHT FROM
THE RAIL COMPANY THE RIGHT TO
BUILD IN THE AIR ABOVE THEIR
TRACKS.

Marty says ESSENTIALLY, THE
TRAINS WERE ONLY SO HIGH AND
THEY WEREN'T REALLY GETTING ANY
HIGHER.
SO, THEY RECOGNISED THEY WERE
WASTING A WHOLE LOT OF SPACE UP
ABOVE AND THEY SAW THIS AS A
PILE OF MONEY JUST WAITING TO BE
HAD.

The narrator says POUNCING ON THIS
OPPORTUNITY WERE ARCHITECTS
JOHN A. HOLABIRD AND JOHN
WELLBORN ROOT JUNIOR.
INCREDIBLY, THEY BUILT THE 26
STOREY TOWER BLOCK DIRECTLY
ON TOP OF ACTIVE TRACKS.

Marty says SO, WHEN WE LOOK AT THE
BUILDING NOW, YOU CAN'T TELL
THERE'S STILL A MESS OF TRAIN
LINES RUNNING BACK AND FORTH
UNDERNEATH.
EVERYONE COMING IN THERE, DAY
TO DAY, WOULD NEVER HAVE ANY
IDEA THAT THEY'RE SITTING OVER
AN ACTIVE RAIL LINE.

The narrator says THIS IS WHAT THE ENGINEERS AT
HUDSON YARDS NEED TO ACHIEVE.
SO, HOW WAS IT DONE HERE?

Marty shows a tray full of sand with a miniature train on it and says THIS IS OUR SAND BOX OF
CHICAGO RIGHT HERE.
ALL WE NEED ARE AREAS WHERE WE
CAN SINK A COUPLE OF KEY
FOUNDATIONS IN BETWEEN THE
TRAINS.

He sticks his fingers in the sand and says SO WE START BY SEEKING OUT A
COUPLE OF AREAS WHERE WE CAN
SINK THESE DEEP FOUNDATIONS
DOWN, TRYING TO AIM FOR THE
BEDROCK IF POSSIBLE.

He sticks a platform with pillars on top of the tracks and says FROM THERE, WE GO AHEAD AND
DRILL OUR FOUNDATIONS DOWN NICE
AND STEADY AND, ALL OF A SUDDEN,
GROUND LEVEL IS NO LONGER DOWN
HERE - WE'RE UP HERE TWENTY FEET
ABOVE.

The narrator says THE BUILDING COULD THEN BE
CONSTRUCTED ON TOP OF THIS
PLATFORM, WITH THE WEIGHT BEING
SUPPORTED DIRECTLY BY THE
PILLARS.

Marty says AND WE'VE JUST TURNED A TRAIN
YARD INTO SOME OF THE MOST
VALUABLE AND USEFUL LAND IN
CHICAGO.
THE CITY'S HAPPY, THE RAILROAD
IS HAPPY, THE PERSON WALKING
DOWN THE STREET IS NO LONGER
STANDING NEXT TO A TRAIN -
IT REALLY TURNED INTO A GREAT
SOLUTION FOR EVERYBODY.

The narrator says HOLABIRD AND ROOT'S
INCREDIBLE ACHIEVEMENT LED TO
AN EXPLOSION IN AIR RIGHTS.
RAILROAD PLOTS ONCE SHUNNED BY
DEVELOPERS WERE NOW WORTH
MILLIONS.

Marty says IT'S A COMPLICATED SOLUTION
THAT REALLY IS A SIMPLE IDEA.
YOU GET A COUPLE OF GENIUS MINDS
FIGURING OUT HOW TO ACTUALLY
MAKE IT HAPPEN AND NOW A GOOD
PART OF CHICAGO IS BUILT EXACTLY
THIS WAY.

(music plays)

The narrator says IN NEW YORK CITY, THE
HUDSON YARD DEVELOPMENT IS
THOUGHT TO BE THE BIGGEST AIR
RIGHTS DEAL EVER.
A BILLION DOLLARS PAID FOR
FRESH AIR ABOVE MANHATTAN'S
WESTERN RAILYARD.
TRACKS COVERING 28-ACRES MUST
SOMEHOW BE STRADDLED TO BUILD
MULTIPLE SKYSCRAPERS, A
SUPERSIZED STEEL SCULPTURE, AN
ASSORTMENT OF PUBLIC BUILDINGS
AND 14 ACRES OF OPEN SPACE.
AND THROUGHOUT CONSTRUCTION,
THE TRAINS BELOW HAVE TO KEEP
RUNNING.

Jay says WE WORK, BASICALLY, AT THE
MERCY OF RAIL TRAFFIC.
SO, THINK OF IT AS THEY OWN
THE BASEMENT, AND YOU OWN
EVERYTHING ABOVE THE BASEMENT.
AND SO, OF THE THIRTY TRACKS, WE
ARE ONLY ALLOWED TO CLOSE FOUR
TRACKS AT A TIME FOR THE PURPOSE
OF THE CONSTRUCTION.
WHAT WE HAD TO THEN DO IS WEAVE
ALL THE FOUNDATIONS FOR THE
BUILDINGS BETWEEN THE TRACKS TO
GO DOWN TO ROCK.

The narrator says THE FOUNDATIONS FOR THIS
MASSIVE 28 ACRE SITE DRAW ON
TECHNIQUES USED IN CHICAGO OVER
90 YEARS AGO.
THE FIRST STEP IS TO DRILL 45
METRE DEEP HOLES INTO THE
BEDROCK, WHICH IS UP TO 75
METRES BELOW THE GROUND.
THEN INSERT THE SUPERSIZED
STEEL AND CONCRETE SUPPORT
COLUMNS KNOWN AS CAISSONS.
300 CAISSONS SUPPORT THE ENTIRE
DEVELOPMENT.
CAREFULLY LOCATED BETWEEN TRAIN
TRACKS, THEY TAKE THE WEIGHT OF
THE STEEL FRAMES FOR THE TOWER
BLOCKS, AS WELL AS THE GIANT
40,000 SQUARE METRE BASE
PLATFORM THAT SURROUNDS THE
BUILDINGS.
THIS CONCRETE AND STEEL
PLATFORM CREATES A NEW GROUND
LEVEL ABOVE THE TRACKS.

Jay says THE PLATFORM DOESN'T SUPPORT
ANYTHING EXCEPT THE OPEN SPACE
WHERE WE'RE STANDING RIGHT NOW.
SO, WHERE THE PLATFORM IS
UNDERNEATH THE BUILDINGS, THE
BUILDINGS GO RIGHT DOWN BETWEEN
THE TRACKS; THEY GO ALL THE WAY
INTO ROCK.
SO, THE TRICK IS IN THE
FOUNDATIONS - THAT'S WHERE ALL
THE LOAD TRANSFER GOES.
THE PLATFORM JUST FILLS IN THE
SPACE IN-BETWEEN.

The narrator says BUT WHILE BOXING IN THE
ACTIVE RAILYARD CREATES ACRES
OF NEW USABLE SPACE, THE
INCOMING TRAINS BELOW ARE NOW
CONFINED UNDERGROUND, CREATING
A FRESH CHALLENGE.

Geoff says WHEN THE TRAINS COME AND
BRING COMMUTERS IN, THEY DROP
THEM OFF IN PENN STATION AND
THEY PARK HERE FOR THE DAY.
WE'VE ENGINES RUNNING, AND JUST
ALL THE TRAIN ACTIVITY IS
CREATING THE HEAT BELOW US.
IT CAN GET UP TO 150 DEGREES
FAHRENHEIT, WHICH IS VERY HOT.

The narrator says THE TEAM HAD TO FIND A WAY
TO KEEP THE RAILYARDS COOL,
SO THEY CAME UP WITH AN AWESOME
SOLUTION.

Jay says BELOW YOU RIGHT NOW ARE ABOUT
FIVE JET ENGINES.
THEY'RE ABOUT 40 FEET LONG,
MAYBE FIVE FEET IN DIAMETER.
THEY'RE ACTUALLY LINED UP RIGHT
LIKE THIS AND THEY EXHAUST
THROUGH THAT SHAFT.

The narrator says TWIN VENTILATION SHAFTS AT
THE PLAZA CONNECT TO 15 GIANT
FANS SANDWICHED WITHIN THE
THICKEST SECTIONS OF THE
PLATFORM.
PRINCIPAL ENGINEER ELI GOTTLIEB
HAS SPECIAL ACCESS TO THE
RESTRICTED AREA INSIDE THE
PLATFORM ITSELF.

The caption changes to "Eli B. Gottlieb P.E. Managing Principal, Thornton Tomasetti Incorporated."

Eli says IT'S PRETTY EXCITING TO BE
IN HERE AND TO ABLE TO SEE THIS.
THIS IS SOMETHING NO ONE EVER
GETS TO SEE AND TO EXPERIENCE
WHEN WE GO DOWN HERE - TO
ACTUALLY SEE DOWN INTO HERE AND
BE WITHIN THE STRUCTURES, AND TO
SEE THE FAN SYSTEMS THAT ARE
OPERATING ON EITHER SIDE.

The narrator says THE FANS ARE INSTALLED AT
THE PLAZA DIRECTLY ABOVE THE
TRAINS.

Eli says WELCOME TO THE CENTRAL FAN
PLANT UNDERNEATH THE YARDS.
THIS IS ONE OF THREE FAN PLANTS
THAT ARE ACTUALLY DOWN HERE.
THESE FANS ARE REALLY PART OF
THE LUNGS OF THE FACILITY THAT
ACTUALLY ALLOW IT TO BREATHE.
THE CRITERIA IN THE RAILYARD IS
WE WEREN'T ABLE TO ALLOW THE
TEMPERATURE IN THE RAILYARD TO
RISE MORE THAN TEN DEGREES ABOVE
THE AMBIENT TEMPERATURE.
SO, IF IT'S 70 DEGREES OUTSIDE,
IT CAN'T BE MORE THAN 80 DEGREES
INSIDE THE RAILYARD.
SO, THESE FANS ALLOW US TO
EXHAUST ANY OF THE HEAT
GENERATED BY THE TRAINS OUT AND
PULL IN NEW, FRESH, COOLER AIR
TO MAINTAIN A TENABLE CLIMATE
FOR EVERYONE WHO'S DOWN THERE.
THESE FANS CAN FULLY EXHAUST THE
ENTIRE FACILITY IN SEVEN MINUTES
WITH ALL THE AIR THAT'S HERE AND
COMPLETELY REPLENISH IT.

The narrator says BUT FOR HUDSON YARD'S
ENGINEERS, MORE IMPOSSIBLE
PROBLEMS COULD JEOPARDISE THE
PROJECT.

Eli says YOU'RE JUST RUNNING OUT OF
SPACE TO ACTUALLY BE ABLE TO
INSTALL ANYTHING.

The narrator says AND THE CHALLENGES ARE SET TO
RISE TO AN EVEN HIGHER LEVEL.

Jay says THEY CAME UP WITH THIS
PROTRUSION, SO WE WEREN'T QUITE
SURE HOW TO CONSTRUCT IT.

(music plays)

The narrator says FOR MANY, EVERY BUILDABLE
INCH OF MANHATTAN ISLAND IS
SPOKEN FOR.
BUT THE TRAILBLAZING HUDSON
YARDS PROJECT IS CHALLENGING
THIS BELIEF.
AMERICA'S LARGEST PRIVATE REAL
ESTATE DEVELOPMENT IS
ATTEMPTING THE IMPOSSIBLE -
BUILDING DIRECTLY ON TOP OF 30
TRAIN TRACKS TO CREATE A
28-ACRE NEW YORK NEIGHBOURHOOD
FROM SCRATCH.

Geoff says MOST OF THE BUILDINGS ARE
OVER AN ACTIVE RAILYARD.
SO, THERE'S SOME AMAZING
ENGINEERING GOING ON JUST TO
BUILD OUR BUILDINGS.
AND WHEN THE DEVELOPMENT IS DONE
AT THE HUDSON YARDS, IT'LL BE
VERY AMAZING.

Eli says TO WORK ON A PROJECT LIKE
THIS, THAT HAS SO MANY PIECES TO
IT, EACH ONE OF WHICH IS
INCREDIBLY CHALLENGING AND
AMAZING, AND THEN TO FIT THEM
ALL TOGETHER, I MEAN, THE
PROJECT IS JUST ASTOUNDING.

The narrator says MULTIPLE SKYSCRAPERS WILL
PROVIDE 18 MILLION SQUARE FEET
OF COMMERCIAL AND RESIDENTIAL
SPACE, INCLUDING A SCHOOL, AN
OVER 200 ROOM HOTEL AND A
RETRACTABLE ARTS CENTRE - ALL
PERCHED ON 300 CAISSONS
SQUEEZED BETWEEN A NETWORK OF
TRAIN TRACKS.
BUT IN ONE CRITICAL SECTION,
THIS ISN'T POSSIBLE - WHERE THE
TRACKS CONVERGE IN AN AREA
CALLED 'THE THROAT.'
ENGINEER ELI GOTTLIEB IS
ONE OF THE TEAM CHARGED WITH
SOLVING THE PROBLEM.

Eli looks through a vent and says AS YOU LOOK THROUGH THIS,
YOU'RE ACTUALLY LOOKING EAST
DOWN INTO THE FOUR TRACK NARROWS
WHERE THE TRAINS COME INTO THE
HUDSON YARDS.
FROM HERE, YOU CAN ACTUALLY SEE
THAT THEY'RE GOING THROUGH A LOT
OF SWITCHING, AND THIS SWITCHING
ALLOWS THEM TO FAN OUT FROM THE
FOUR TRACKS THAT THEY COME IN AT
TO THE 30 STORAGE TRACKS.
AND YOU CAN IMAGINE THAT, IF THE
TRACKS ARE SPACED FAR APART,
THERE IS SPACE IN-BETWEEN THEM
TO BE ABLE TO BUILD OUR CAISSON
AND A COLUMN COMING UP.
BUT AS THE TRACKS CONVERGE IN
TOGETHER, YOU CAN JUST IMAGINE
THAT YOU'RE JUST RUNNING OUT OF
SPACE IN-BETWEEN THE TWO OF THEM
TO ACTUALLY BE ABLE TO INSTALL
ANYTHING.

The narrator says THIS AREA OF THE DEVELOPMENT
IS EARMARKED TO HAVE A TOWER
BLOCK AND A SHOPPING MALL BUILT
ON TOP OF IT.
IF ENGINEERS CAN'T SPAN THE 45
METRE WIDE GAP AND SUPPORT THE
BUILDINGS ABOVE, HUDSON YARDS
WILL BE LEFT WITH A MASSIVE
HOLE IN ITS PLANS.

Eli says THIS IS REALLY A KEY
PROBLEM ON THE SITE.
ALL THAT UNDERNEATH US REALLY
NARROWS DOWN THE NUMBER OF
POSSIBILITIES OF WHAT WE CAN DO
TO BE ABLE TO SUPPORT EVERYTHING
ABOVE.

The narrator says CAN THE SOLUTION TO THIS
IMPOSSIBLE CHALLENGE BE FOUND
IN THE PAST?
WHEN IT CAME TO SPANNING, MANY
OF HISTORY'S BRIDGES APPEAR
TO HAVE CRACKED THE PROBLEM...

In animation, a cave man crosses a bridge. Then an elephant crosses the bridge, as well, and the bridge gives in.

(ELEPHANT TRUMPETING)

The narrator says UNTIL YOU ADDED A LOAD.
IN 1297, SCOTLAND'S STIRLING
BRIDGE STOOD PROUD...

In an animated battle, the General says CHARGE!

The narrator says UNTIL THE BATTLING ENGLISH
AND SCOTS MET IN THE MIDDLE.
IN 1444, IN ROMANTIC VENICE,
THE RIALTO BRIDGE WAS THE
PERFECT SPOT TO VIEW A WEDDING
UNTIL A SWELLING CROWD PUT A
DAMPENER ON THE BIG DAY.

In animation, the bridge collapses as a crowd watches a wedding on it.

The narrator says TO SPAN THEIR GAPS, BRIDGE
ENGINEERS NEEDED SOMETHING
STRONGER.

Using a harness, Andrew Steel climbs up a bridge and says ALMOST THERE NOW.
WOW, IT'S A LONG WAY DOWN.

Andrew is in his thirties, with short wavy brown hair and a beard. He wears a blue T-shirt, a neon orange overall, protective gloves and a hard hat.

The narrator says PHYSICIST ANDREW STEELE IS
GETTING A CLOSE UP LOOK AT THE
WORCESTER RAILWAY BRIDGE.
(STRAINING)

Andrew says WOW.
(SIGHING)
WHAT A BEAUTIFUL VIEW.

The narrator says CAN A GAME-CHANGING
INNOVATION FROM THE BRITISH
RAILWAY BOOM BE THE MISSING
PIECE OF THE PUZZLE FOR THE
TEAM AT HUDSON YARDS?

Andrew says IN THE EARLY 20TH CENTURY,
THE UK RAILWAY SYSTEM WAS
UNDERGOING A HUGE PERIOD OF
EXPANSION.
NOT ONLY WERE THERE MORE TRACKS,
BUT THERE WERE ALSO MORE TRAINS
AND THESE TRAINS WERE MUCH
FASTER, AND AS THEY WERE
GETTING FASTER, THEY WERE ALSO
GETTING HEAVIER AND THAT MEANT
THE BRIDGES ON THE RAILWAY
NETWORK WERE BEING PUT UNDER
INCREASINGLY LARGE STRAINS.

The narrator says LIKE THE TEAM IN NEW YORK,
ENGINEERS NEEDED TO FIND
SOMETHING STRONG AND RELIABLE
TO BRIDGE THE GAP.
JAMES WARREN WAS A MERCHANT
WITH NO FORMAL TRAINING IN
ENGINEERING.
IN 1848, HE REGISTERED A PATENT
THAT WOULD REVOLUTIONIZE BRIDGE
DESIGN - THE WARREN TRUSS.

Andrew says THIS IS WARREN'S DESIGN -
THIS REPEATING PATTERN ENTIRELY
MADE OF EQUILATERAL TRIANGLES -
SO TRIANGLES WHICH ARE THE SAME
LENGTH ALONG EACH SIDE.
NOW, TRIANGLES LIKE THAT HAVE
THE ADVANTAGE THAT THEY'RE
INCREDIBLY STRONG.
THE RAILWAY TRACK IS ABOVE MY
HEAD RIGHT NOW AND WHAT THAT
MEANS IS THAT, AS A TRAIN PASSES
OVER THE TOP OF US, THEN ITS
WEIGHT IS DISTRIBUTED THROUGH
ALL THESE DIFFERENT STRUTS AND
EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM CAN
SHARE THAT LOAD; THAT MEANS THAT
ALL THESE INDIVIDUAL BEAMS ARE
EITHER IN TENSION - SO BEING
PULLED - OR COMPRESSION - SO
BEING SQUASHED.
THERE ARE TRAINS RUMBLING OVER
MY HEAD RIGHT NOW.
THIS BRIDGE IS STILL VERY MUCH
IN USE.
(TRAIN RUMBLING)

The narrator says PREVIOUSLY, MANY BRIDGE
ENGINEERS HAD USED VERTICAL
STRUTS.
SO, HOW MUCH STRONGER WAS THE
TRIANGLE?

Andrew says SO, THEY CAN BOTH TAKE ONE
BRICK.

The narrator says TWO MODEL BRIDGES ARE BEING
TESTED TO BREAKING POINT.

Andrew tests two model wooden bridges sitting on top of two cement blocks. One of the bridges has only vertical struts holding up the load whereas the second has a triangular pattern of struts.

He piles up bricks on top of each model.

Andrew says SO, IN THIS SIMPLE DESIGN,
ALL THAT LOAD IS MAINLY GOING
THROUGH, WELL, HONESTLY, JUST
THIS VERTICAL STRUT HERE.
WHEREAS, ON THE WARREN TRUSS
OVER HERE, ALL OF THAT LOAD WITH
THIS TRIANGULAR PATTERN OF
STRUTS IS BEING SPREAD
THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE BRIDGE.
WE'RE GONNA GO FOR BRICK NUMBER
THREE.
RIGHT, BRICK NUMBER FOUR.
BIT NERVOUS ABOUT THIS ONE TO BE
HONEST.
THE QUESTION IS CAN IT TAKE A
FIFTH?
BUT A SIXTH, I THINK THIS IS
GONNA BE IT.
SURELY THIS TIME...

The vertical model collapses.

Andrew says OH, TOTAL STRUCTURAL FAILURE
THERE.
YOU CAN SEE THERE'S LOLLIPOP
STICKS EVERYWHERE.
BUT THE WARREN TRUSS, IT'S STILL
SUPPORTING THAT LOAD PRETTY
STRONGLY BECAUSE NO INDIVIDUAL
LOLLIPOP STICK IS TAKING THAT
MUCH WEIGHT.
AND SO, INCREDIBLY, IT CAN HOLD
ALL OF THAT MASS.
THE WARREN TRUSS REALLY WAS AN
INCREDIBLE ENGINEERING
INNOVATION.
AND, OF COURSE, IT'S NOT JUST
BRIDGES.
WHEREVER A WEIGHT NEEDS TO BE
BORNE AND SPREAD OVER A
STRUCTURE, YOU'LL SEE THESE
EQUILATERAL TRIANGLES HOLDING
THEM UP.
IT'S AN INCREDIBLY TIME-TESTED
DESIGN.

The narrator says ENGINEERS ARE SUPERSIZING
THIS 170 YEAR OLD CREATION TO
SUPPORT PART OF A SEVEN STOREY
SHOPPING MALL AND SKYSCRAPER.
WHERE PILED FOUNDATIONS ARE
IMPOSSIBLE, SANDWICHED BETWEEN
THE RETAIL SPACE ABOVE AND THE
CONVERGING RAIL TRACKS BELOW,
LIE A SERIES OF FOUR METRE HIGH
WARREN TRUSSES.

Eli says SO, WE'RE INSIDE THE
PLATFORM UNDERNEATH RETAIL, OVER
ALL THE SWITCHING OF LONG ISLAND
RAILROAD.
WE'RE STANDING, BASICALLY,
WITHIN A BRIDGE STRUCTURE,
RIGHT, WHERE WE ARE STANDING ON
THE BOTTOM OF THE BRIDGE AND
THERE'S THE TOP OF THE BRIDGE
ABOVE US, AND THESE WARREN
TRUSSES ARE THOSE MAIN ELEMENTS
OF THE BRIDGE THAT ARE SPANNING
ACROSS.

The narrator says IN TOTAL, 14 GIANT TRUSSES
ARE USED TO SPAN THE CRUCIAL 45
METRE GAP.

Eli says BY BEING ABLE TO USE THIS
TRUSS STRUCTURE AND BUILD A NICE
STIFF BRIDGE DECK, THAT'S
ACTUALLY REALLY EFFICIENT FOR
BEING ABLE TO SUPPORT THE
BUILDINGS ABOVE.
IT'S A PRETTY INCREDIBLE PIECE
OF ENGINEERING WHEN YOU THINK
ABOUT WHAT THESE TRUSSES NEED TO
DO AND HOW MUCH THEY NEED TO BE
ABLE TO CARRY.

The narrator says THE HISTORIC WARREN TRUSS
DESIGN PLAYS A VITAL PART IN
THIS HUGE MODERN DEVELOPMENT.

Eli says THERE'S A LOT OF
ENGINEERING THAT WE STAND ON THE
SHOULDERS OF THOSE WHO CAME
BEFORE US, AND SO THERE'S A LOT
OF INCREDIBLE ENGINEERING THAT
COMES OUT OF ESPECIALLY THE 19TH
CENTURY THAT HAS A THREAD THAT
TRAVELS THROUGH WHAT WE'RE
DOING TODAY.

The narrator says THE TOWER SUPPORTED BY THE
TRUSS IS NOT ONLY THE HIGHEST
ON THE PROJECT BUT, ONCE IT'S
COMPLETE, WILL BE THE SECOND
TALLEST OFFICE BUILDING IN
NEW YORK.
ENGINEER JAY CROSS HAS SPECIAL
ACCESS TO ITS MOST INCREDIBLE
FEATURE...
ON THE HUNDREDTH FLOOR.
A TEN MINUTE RIDE AWAY IN THE
TEMPORARY LIFT.

Jay gets on the elevator and says THE VIEW CHANGES SO
DRAMATICALLY AS YOU GET HIGHER
AND HIGHER - IT'S AMAZING.

The narrator says AND IT'S THE VIEW FROM THE
TOP THAT INSPIRED ANOTHER
PHENOMENAL PIECE OF
ENGINEERING.

Jay sits on the observation deck and says AT FIRST, WE DESIGNED THE
BUILDING WITHOUT AN OBSERVATION
DECK, AND WE REALISED HOW HIGH
WE'RE GOING TO BE.
SO, WE CHALLENGED THE ARCHITECTS
TO SAY, "COME UP WITH AN IDEA
OF AN OBSERVATION DECK."
WE, OF COURSE, THOUGHT THEY WERE
GOING TO COME UP WITH SOMETHING
THAT WAS INSIDE THE TOWER.
INSTEAD, THEY CAME UP WITH THIS
PROTRUSION, WHICH WAS PRETTY
DARN DRAMATIC.

The narrator says THIS IS THE HIGHEST MANMADE
OUTDOOR OBSERVATION AREA IN THE
WESTERN HEMISPHERE.
ALMOST A THIRD OF A KILOMETRE
UP, IT OFFERS A BRAND NEW
BIRD'S-EYE VIEW OF THE CITY
BELOW.
BUT CONSTRUCTING A PLATFORM IN
THE AIR CALLS FOR MORE
IMPOSSIBLE ENGINEERING.

Jay says AT FIRST, WE WEREN'T QUITE
SURE HOW TO CONSTRUCT IT.
WE THOUGHT MAYBE IT WOULD BE
LIKE A BRIDGE, WHERE YOU JUST
KIND OF BUILD PIECE AND YOU INCH
YOUR WAY OUT FROM THE BUILDING.
BUT THE PROBLEM WAS WE FELT THAT
WE WOULD HAVE TO HAVE A LOT OF
SUPPORTING SCAFFOLDING TO DO
THAT.
SO, OUR STEEL FABRICATOR CAME UP
WITH THE IDEA OF MAKING 14
PIECES THAT WOULD COME UP
PRE-ASSEMBLED AND YOU WOULD JUST
BOLT THEM ON AS YOU GO OUT.

The narrator says BUILT OUT FROM THE BUILDING
SECTION BY GIANT SECTION -
SOME WEIGHING UP TO 45 TONS -
THE RESULT IS A 700 SQUARE
METRE SKY DECK.
BUT THE FINAL PIECE OF THE
PUZZLE WILL BE AN IMMENSE
TRIANGLE MADE OF REINFORCED
GLASS.

Jay says WE FELT THAT, IN ADDITION TO
WALKING TOWARDS THE PEAK - WHICH
I THINK WILL BE EXCITING
ENOUGH - WE THOUGHT, "WHY NOT
MAKE IT A LITTLE BIT MORE
EXCITING AND CREATE A GLASS
FLOOR?"
RIGHT NOW, THERE'S NOTHING
THERE - THERE'S NO GLASS, WE'RE
JUST LOOKING DOWN 1000 FEET.
AND IT'S PRETTY EXCITING, DON'T
YOU THINK?
IT FELT A LOT MORE COMFORTABLE
WHEN THE ORANGE NETTING WAS
ACROSS HERE.
NOW THAT IT'S DOWN TO, LIKE, TWO
OR THREE WIRES, THERE'S NO NEED
TO GET TOO CLOSE.

The narrator says FOUR 550 KILOGRAM TRIANGULAR
SECTIONS OF GLASS WILL COMPLETE
THE SKYDECK.
TWO AND A QUARTER INCHES THICK,
IT WILL ALLOW VISITORS TO TAKE
IN THE VERTIGO INDUCING VIEWS
FROM THIS MIND-BLOWING VANTAGE
POINT.

Jay says I'LL WALK ON IT, I'M SURE.
I'LL BE GOADED ONTO IT.
BUT I'LL BE NERVOUS ABOUT IT.

The narrator says BUT THIS IMPOSSIBLE PROJECT
IS ATTEMPTING MORE AUDACIOUS
ENGINEERING, THROWING UP
FURTHER CHALLENGES.

Eli says WE'RE MOVING THE EQUIVALENT
OF ABOUT 600 ELEPHANTS STACKED
UP ON TOP OF EACH OTHER,
WEARING EIGHT ROLLER SKATES.

The narrator says CAN THEIR INNOVATIVE
CONSTRUCTION BE TAKEN TO
ANOTHER LEVEL?

Geoff says IT'S VERY DIFFICULT TO
FIGURE OUT THAT SOLUTION FROM AN
ENGINEERING STANDPOINT.

(music plays)

The narrator says NEW YORK'S BIGGEST EVER
IMPOSSIBLE ENGINEERING
CHALLENGE.
HUDSON YARDS IS A 1.6 MILLION
SQUARE METRE REAL ESTATE
PROJECT CONSTRUCTED OVER A
FULLY FUNCTIONING RAILYARD.
PERCHED ON A SPECIALLY
CONSTRUCTED BASE PLATFORM ABOVE
THE TRACKS, THIS IS A
MULTI-TOWER MINI CITY
MULTIPLE SKYSCRAPERS, A
SUPERSIZED MALL, 14 ACRES OF
PUBLIC LAND ALL COMING TO LIFE
SIMULTANEOUSLY.
BUT PERHAPS THE MOST INVENTIVE
ENGINEERING ONSITE IS A UNIQUE
ARTS VENUE KNOWN AS THE SHED.
ENGINEER ELI GOTTLEIB IS
OVERSEEING ITS BUILD.

Eli says THE SHED IS BUILT UP OF TWO
PARTS, ONE IS WHAT WE HAVE
ALWAYS THOUGHT OF AS THE FIXED
BUILDING, WHICH IS THE BUILDING
THAT WE'RE STANDING IN RIGHT
NOW.
AND THEN, IT HAS THE SLEEVE THAT
SLIDES OVER THE FIXED BUILDING,
SO THAT WHEN IT'S NOT IN USE,
IT'S ACTUALLY RETRACTED.
BUT THEN, WHEN THEY HAVE LARGER
EVENTS AND THEY NEED THE SPACE,
THEY'LL BE ABLE TO ROLL THE SHED
OUT TO ENCLOSE THE PLAZA AND
TURN IT INTO THIS LARGER VENUE
THAT WE CAN SEE HERE IN FRONT OF
US.
THERE'S REALLY NO OTHER PLACES
LIKE THIS.

The narrator says THE TEAM ARE USING A
SPECIAL INFLATED PLASTIC TO
KEEP THE SHELL AS LIGHTWEIGHT
AS POSSIBLE, SO THE POWER
REQUIRED TO MOVE IT IS KEPT TO
A MINIMUM.
THE DRIVE SYSTEM ON THE ROOF
GENERATES JUST 180 HORSEPOWER.

Eli says SO, WE'RE UP ON THE ROOF OF
THE FIXED BUILDING OF THE SHED.
YOU CAN SEE HERE, HERE ARE THE
MAIN TEETH FROM THE DRIVE
MECHANISM THAT THE ACTUAL SHED
MOTORS WILL THEN ROLL AGAINST
AND DRIVE THE ASSEMBLY BACK AND
FORTH.
WE'RE MOVING THE EQUIVALENT OF
ABOUT 600 ELEPHANTS STACKED UP
ON TOP OF EACH OTHER, IN THIS
CASE WEARING EIGHT
ROLLER SKATES.

The narrator says THE 'ROLLER SKATES' ARE, IN
FACT, EIGHT PAIRS OF TWO METRE
HIGH WHEELS RUNNING ALONG
HEAVY-DUTY RAILS.
AND IN 2016...
THIS RETRACTABLE BUILDING WAS
PUT THROUGH ITS PACES FOR THE
FIRST TIME.

Eli says TO SEE THE SHED MOVE WAS
ACTUALLY FANTASTIC, BUT IT WAS
ALSO REALLY SURPRISING BECAUSE
IT IS SO QUIET THAT, IN FACT, A
WHOLE NUMBER OF PEOPLE ACTUALLY
KIND OF MISSED IT BECAUSE IT
HAPPENED AND THEY SORT OF DIDN'T
HEAR IT OR REALISE THAT IT WAS
GOING ON IN THAT MOMENT.
AND, ALL OF A SUDDEN, "HEY, WAIT
A SECOND, IT WAS BACK THERE, NOW
IT'S HERE.
HOW DID THAT HAPPEN SO SMOOTHLY,
SO EFFORTLESSLY?"

The narrator says THE VAST 28 ACRE HUDSON
YARDS IS A SERIES OF SEPARATE
CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS.
WITH MANY BEING BUILT OVER AN
ACTIVE RAILYARD, THE CHALLENGES
ARE UNDOUBTEDLY HUGE.
BUT ALTHOUGH THE CORNER IS
CLEAR OF THE MAIN TRACKS, IT
POSES AN EQUALLY TAXING
PROBLEM.
A MASSIVE TOWER HAD TO BE
PERCHED DIRECTLY ON TOP OF A
2.4 BILLION DOLLAR MANHATTAN
TRANSPORT HUB.

Geoff says 55 HUDSON YARDS IS AN OFFICE
BUILDING AND IT'S JUST OUTSIDE
OF THE PLATFORM AREA THAT'S
OVER THE RAILYARDS.
IT IS, HOWEVER, OVER A LARGE
SUBWAY STATION.

The narrator says JUST THREE YEARS OLD, THE
34TH STREET-HUDSON YARDS
STATION IS ONE OF THE CITY'S
NEWEST.
WITH ONE AND A HALF MILLION
COMMUTERS COMING IN TO
MANHATTAN EVERY DAY, IT'S A KEY
SELLING POINT FOR THE
DEVELOPMENT.
BUT IT PRESENTED THE ENGINEERS
WITH A WEIGHTY CHALLENGE.

Geoff says WE HAVE LIMITED
OPPORTUNITIES TO PUT WEIGHT ON
THE SUBWAY STATION AND LIMITED
FOOTPRINT TO PUT WEIGHT OUTSIDE
THE SUBWAY SYSTEM.
SO, WE'RE LOOKING FOR WAYS OF
PUTTING AS BIG A BUILDING AS WE
CAN WITH THE LIMITED OPTIONS WE
HAVE AT THE FOUNDATIONS.

The narrator says LACK OF SPACE FOR NEW
FOUNDATIONS MEANT 40 percent OF THE
TOWER BLOCK'S WEIGHT HAD TO BE
CARRIED BY THE FOUNDATIONS OF
THE SUBWAY STATION ITSELF.
OVERLOADING WAS A REAL DANGER.
THE TOWER HAD TO SHED SOME
WEIGHT WITHOUT SHRINKING IN
SIZE.

Geoff says OUR BUILDING IS 51
STORIES OF OFFICE SPACE AND
THAT'S A LOT OF BUILDING TO PUT
ON LIMITED FOUNDATIONS.
SO, THE ENGINEERS NEEDED TO FIND
SOLUTIONS TO LIGHTEN UP THE
BUILDING AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.
IT MAY SOUND EASY TO MAKE A
BUILDING LIGHT, BUT IT'S VERY
DIFFICULT TO FIGURE OUT THAT
SOLUTION FROM AN ENGINEERING
STANDPOINT.

The narrator says IT SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE, BUT CAN
ENGINEERS OF THE PAST SHED ANY
LIGHT ON LIGHTWEIGHT MATERIALS?

Megan is in her thirties, with shoulder length wavy red hair and wears blue trousers and a navy blue shirt.

As she crosses the river on a boat, she says IT'S BEAUTIFUL.

The narrator says KIPTOPEKE STATE PARK IN
VIRGINIA
ENGINEER MEGAN HART IS OFF TO
DISCOVER HOW A MATERIAL USED TO
SOLVE A WARTIME PROBLEM COULD
HELP THE TEAM IN NEW YORK.

Megan says DURING WORLD WAR 1 AND
WORLD WAR 2, THERE WAS A
MASSIVE MANUFACTURING EFFORT
AND THAT TOOK A LOT OF RAW
MATERIALS AND THE MAIN ONE WAS
STEEL.

The narrator says STEEL PRODUCTION WENT INTO
OVERDRIVE TO SUPPLY THE
MILITARY.
THIS LED TO A SHORTAGE, BUT THE
US NAVY NEEDED TO BUILD A FLEET
OF SUPPLY SHIPS.
SO, HOW DID THEY MANAGE IT?

Megan says THESE SHIPS DIDN'T NEED TO BE
MADE OUT OF STEEL - THEY WOULD
NEVER SEE ACTIVE COMBAT.
WHAT THEY NEEDED WAS ANOTHER
MATERIAL.

The narrator says THESE ARE THE INSPIRED
SOLUTION, MADE OUT OF AN
INNOVATIVE VERSION OF A
SURPRISING MATERIAL.

Megan sails by a line of concrete boats and says THESE ARE CONCRETE BOATS.
CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?!
AND THEY ACTUALLY FLOAT.
NOT ONLY DO THEY FLOAT, BUT THEY
CARRIED SUPPLIES DURING THE WAR
EFFORT.
YOU THINK CONCRETE, YOU THINK
MASSIVE, AND HEAVY, AND
SUPER DENSE.
BUT DENSITY MAKES IT VERY
DIFFICULT TO BE BUOYANT.
THIS CONCRETE IS DIFFERENT.

The narrator says THE MAN BEHIND IT IS
STEPHEN J. HAYDE.
HE WAS WORKING IN THE KANSAS
CITY BUILDING TRADE IN THE
EARLY 1900S WHEN HE HAD A
EUREKA MOMENT.
HE NOTICED THAT SHALE STONES
LEFT TOO CLOSE TO THE KILN
DURING THE FIRING PROCESS WOULD
BLOAT UP WHEN THEY OVERHEATED.
THE HEAT CAUSED AIR BUBBLES TO
FORM IN A HONEYCOMB-LIKE
STRUCTURE INSIDE THE STONES,
MAKING THEM LIGHTWEIGHT.
SO, HAYDE ADDED THEM TO CEMENT
AND WATER TO CREATE HIS
REVOLUTIONARY NEW CONCRETE - AN
INVENTION THAT COULD HELP OUT
HUDSON YARD'S ENGINEERS.

Megan says SO, STEVEN J. HAYDE, INSTEAD
OF USING TRADITIONAL AGGREGATE -
WHICH IS HEAVY - IT'S JUST ROCK.
HE USED AN EXPANDED SHALE AND
THAT EXPANDED SHALE IS MUCH LESS
DENSE.
AND THIS LIGHTWEIGHT AGGREGATE
WOULD NOT ONLY FLOAT, BUT ALSO
WEIGH A WHOLE LOT LESS.

The narrator says DURING WORLD WAR 2, 24 OF
THESE 100 METRE LONG CONCRETE
SHIPS WERE MADE -
THE UNEXPECTED SOLUTION TO THE
NAVY'S PROBLEM AT SEA.

Megan touches hull of one of the boats and says WOW, THAT'S AMAZING.
YOU CAN SEE THAT THE SHELL IS
STILL INTACT.
STEPHEN J. HAYDE CAME UP WITH A
PERFECT MATERIAL TO BUILD THESE
BOATS.

The narrator says IN NEW YORK, ENGINEERS DRAW
ON HAYDE'S DISCOVERY TO SOLVE A
SKYSCRAPER'S SERIOUS WEIGHT
ISSUE.
55 HUDSON YARDS IS A WHOPPING
240 METRES HIGH AND ITS
SIZEABLE MASS BEARS DOWN ON A
MAJOR TRANSPORT HUB.
TO AVOID OVERLOADING, THE TEAM
HAD TO SAVE WEIGHT ON THE
INSIDE.

Geoff says WE'RE ON THE 47TH FLOOR OF
55 HUDSON YARDS AND LIGHTWEIGHT
CONCRETE HELPED US ACHIEVE A
LIGHT BUILDING TO GO OVER THE
LIMITED FOUNDATION WE HAD AROUND
THE SUBWAY STATION.
SO, IF WE LOOK ABOVE AND BELOW
US - SLAB ABOVE, SLAB BELOW -
EVERY FLOOR ON THIS BUILDING IS
MADE OUT OF LIGHTWEIGHT
CONCRETE.
AND WE SAVED ABOUT 20 TO 30
PERCENT IN WEIGHT OVERALL.
IT MADE A HUGE DIFFERENCE.
IF WE SAVED 20 percent IN WEIGHT, WE
COULD MAKE THE BUILDING 20 percent
HIGHER.
SO, 20 percent MORE BUILDING'S QUITE A
BIT.

The narrator says THE CONCRETE FLOORS ARE
ALSO LIGHTWEIGHT BECAUSE
THEY'RE ONLY NINE INCHES THICK.
BUT SPANNING THE TOWER'S VAST
OPEN-PLAN AREAS IS PROBLEMATIC
FOR SUCH A THIN FLOOR.
THE TEAM'S SOLUTION IS A
PIONEERING TECHNIQUE KNOWN AS
POST TENSIONING.

Geoff says HISTORICALLY, POST TENSION
TECHNOLOGY IN NEW YORK CITY
SPECIFICALLY, IT HASN'T BEEN
USED REGULARLY AND THIS IS THE
FIRST BUILDING WHERE IT WAS USED
REGULARLY IN THE SLABS.
SO, OVER OUR HEAD, WE CAN SEE
WHITE PAINTED AREAS THAT SAY
"PT ZONE."
THAT'S WHERE WE ARE USING POST
TENSION CONCRETE.
SIMPLY PUT, IT'S A HIGH STRENGTH
CABLE THAT'S PULLED THROUGH THE
CONCRETE THAT HELPS LIMIT
DEFLECTION.

The narrator says A NETWORK OF STEEL CABLES
ARE THREADED THROUGH LIQUID
CONCRETE.
HYDRAULIC JACKS APPLY MASSIVE
TENSION TO PULL THEM TAUT.
ANCHORED IN PLACE, THE
COMPRESSIVE FORCE OF THE
CONCRETE IS INCREASED FROM 7000
TO 8500 PSI - REDUCING
DEFLECTION, ALLOWING A THINNER,
LIGHTER SLAB.

Geoff says WITH OUR HIGH-STRENGTH,
LIGHTWEIGHT CONCRETE AND USING
THE POST TENSION SLABS, IT MAKES
FOR THE MOST ROBUST SYSTEM WE
CAN FOR A THIN SLAB.
IT WAS A PERFECT SOLUTION TO
LIGHTEN UP THE BUILDING AND
ALLOW US TO BUILD AS MUCH AS WE
COULD OVER THE SUBWAY STATION.

The narrator says BUT THE ENGINEERS OF THIS
BRAND NEW NEIGHBOURHOOD FACE
ANOTHER HURDLE.
THEY MUST DEFY NEW YORK'S
NOTORIOUSLY UNPREDICTABLE
WEATHER.

An engineer says WHEN WE LOSE POWER HERE IN
MANHATTAN, IT'S EERIE - WE'RE
USED TO SEEING THE CITY ALIVE.

The narrator says KEEPING HUDSON YARDS UP AND
RUNNING CALLS FOR IMPOSSIBLE
ENGINEERING.

(music plays)

The narrator says THE NEW YORK SKYLINE IS SET TO
CHANGE FOREVER, THANKS TO THE
CITY'S BIGGEST-EVER
DEVELOPMENT.
HUDSON YARDS IS BUILT ON A
GIANT BASE PLATFORM OVER AN
ACTIVE RAILYARD.
BUT, INCREDIBLY, ALL OF THIS IS
JUST THE FIRST HALF OF THE
TWENTY-FIVE BILLION DOLLAR
PROJECT.

Jay says WHAT YOU'RE LOOKING AT HERE
IS THE WESTERN YARDS.
THAT'S WHAT WE CALL PHASE TWO.
SO, WE'LL DO ANOTHER 5.7 MILLION
SQUARE FEET OF DEVELOPMENT
OVER HERE.

The narrator says WITH PHASE ONE ALMOST
COMPLETE, A SECOND, EVEN BIGGER
STEEL AND CONCRETE PLATFORM
WILL BE BUILT ABOVE THE TRACKS
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE 11TH
AVENUE VIADUCT.
EIGHT COLOSSAL BUILDINGS WILL
BE CREATED.
THIS CITY WITHIN A CITY WILL
DOUBLE IN SIZE.

Geoff says WE HAVE SIX GIANT BUILDINGS
AROUND US AND WE HAVE A LOT MORE
COMING IN VERY SHORT ORDER.
WE ARE BRINGING MORE OFFICE
SPACE TO NEW YORK CITY THAN
THERE IS IN DOWNTOWN SAN DIEGO.

The narrator says TO BE A SUCCESS,
MANHATTAN'S NEWEST BUSINESS
QUARTER MUST STAY ONLINE 365
DAYS A YEAR.
BUT MAINTAINING A STEADY POWER
SUPPLY IN NEW YORK IS A HUGE
CHALLENGE.
HURRICANE SANDY CAUSED THE
LATEST AND MOST DEVASTATING
IN A LONG HISTORY OF POWER CUTS
AFFECTING THE CITY.

The caption changes to "Frank Norcross. Vice President, Hudson Yards Energy."

Frank is in his late forties, with short gray hair and a beard. He wears black trousers, a white shirt, a safety vest and a hard hat.

He says WHEN WE LOSE POWER HERE IN
MANHATTAN, IT'S EERIE, RIGHT?
IT'S A LARGE CITY AND WE'RE
USED TO SEEING IT LIT UP AND
WE'RE USED TO SEEING THE CITY
ALIVE 24 HOURS A DAY.

The narrator says FRANK NORCROSS IS IN CHARGE
OF HUDSON YARDS' ENERGY SUPPLY
TEAM.
HE NEEDS TO FIND A WAY TO
PROTECT THE NEW DEVELOPMENT
FROM POWER CUTS.

Frank says THE CUSTOMERS THAT WILL CALL
HUDSON YARDS HOME CAN ABSOLUTELY
NOT AFFORD TO LOSE POWER AT ANY
MOMENT.
THEY RUN 24 HOURS A DAY,
SEVEN DAYS A WEEK, AND THEY NEED
RELIABLE PROVISION OF
ELECTRICAL SERVICE.
IT'S A HUGE PROBLEM WHEN WE LOSE
POWER BECAUSE VITAL SYSTEMS -
THE THINGS THAT WE MAINTAIN TO
KEEP SAFETY AND SECURITY IN A
LARGE CITY - ARE UNDER THREAT
WHEN WE LOSE POWER.

The narrator says IN THE FACE OF A HURRICANE,
HOW DO YOU KEEP THE
POWER SUPPLY RUNNING?
THE TEAM NEED TO TURN TO THE
PAST TO STOP HISTORY REPEATING
ITSELF.
WHEN IT COMES TO CREATING
POWER, FACTORIES HAVE LED THE
WAY.

An animated working man manually powers an engine and says PHEW...

The narrator says FIRST, ELBOW GREASE DROVE
MACHINES...
(STEAM WHISTLE BLARING)

The narrator says UNTIL THE INDUSTRIAL
REVOLUTION BROUGHT STEAM.
NOW, ONE ENORMOUS ENGINE COULD
POWER EVERYTHING.
BUT WITH THEIR EGGS IN ONE
BASKET, IF ANYTHING WENT ARRAY,
EVERYTHING GROUND TO A HALT.

(MAN SIGHING)

The narrator says PHYSICIST ANDREW STEELE IS
AT THE ANSON ENGINE MUSEUM IN
THE NORTH OF ENGLAND...
IN SEARCH OF A HISTORIC
INNOVATION THAT WOULD BLOW
STEAM POWER AWAY.
IT WAS NIKOLAUS OTTO - A GERMAN
SALESMAN WITH A PASSION FOR
ENGINEERING - WHO CAME UP WITH
AN INVENTION THAT TRANSFORMED
THE 19TH CENTURY.

Andrew says THIS IS WHAT OTTO
CAME UP WITH.
IT'S CALLED AN ATMOSPHERIC GAS
ENGINE, AND IT'S GOT A NUMBER
OF ADVANTAGES OVER THE STEAM
ENGINES THAT EXISTED AT THE
TIME.
FIRSTLY, YOU DON'T NEED HUGE
SUPPLY OF WATER TO RUN THIS
THING.
SECONDLY, YOU DON'T NEED A TEAM
OF PEOPLE; YOU CAN DO IT WITH
JUST ONE PERSON.
AND THIRDLY, YOU CAN HAVE A LOAD
OF THESE SMALL ENGINES SCATTERED
AROUND THE FACTORY TO OPERATE
INDIVIDUAL MACHINES, RATHER THAN
HAVING ONE MASSIVE STEAM ENGINE
TO DRIVE ALL THE EQUIPMENT IN
THE WHOLE PLACE.

The narrator says MORE POWERFUL FOR IT'S SIZE
THAN IT'S STEAM-ENGINE
COUNTERPARTS...

Andrew says SO, IT'S A BIT OF PHYSICAL
LABOUR.
(STRAINING)
IT'S NOT LIKE STARTING YOUR CAR.

He spins a giant wheel on to run the engine.

The narrator says THIS NEW BREED WAS FUELLED
BY NATURAL GAS.

Andrew gets the engine going and says OH, WOW, THERE WE GO.
THE WAY THIS ATMOSPHERIC GAS
ENGINE WORKS IS IT'S GOT A
MASSIVE PISTON INSIDE THIS
CYLINDER, SO THEN, WHEN THAT
PISTON STARTS MOVING UPWARDS, IT
DRAWS IN A MIXTURE OF GAS AND
AIR.
AND WHEN IT GETS TO A CERTAIN
POINT - SOMEWHERE AROUND HERE -
THAT PILOT LIGHT, A LITTLE BIT
OF THAT FLAME GETS PULLED INTO
THE CYLINDER - THAT CAUSES AN
EXPLOSION AND THAT THROWS THE
PISTON UP THROUGH THE CYLINDER.

The narrator says ESSENTIALLY, A POWER STATION
IN MINIATURE, OTTO'S SINGLE
ACTING CYLINDER WAS HUGELY
SUCCESSFUL.
BUT IT WAS HIS NEWLY IMPROVED
GAS-POWERED MODEL THAT COULD
PROVIDE THE SOLUTION FOR
HUDSON YARDS' ENGINEERS.

Andrew says THIS IS THE NEXT ITERATION OF
OTTO'S DESIGN AND IT'S TRULY
REVOLUTIONARY.
IT USES SOMETHING CALLED THE
FOUR STROKE CYCLE.

The narrator says UNLIKE HIS PREVIOUS ENGINE,
THIS MAKES FOUR STROKES OF THE
PISTON FOR EACH IGNITION.
FIRST, THE PISTON MOVES
DOWNWARDS, SUCKING AIR AND GAS
INTO THE CHAMBER.
SECONDLY, AS THE PISTON RISES,
THE AIR AND GAS IS COMPRESSED.
THIRDLY, IT'S IGNITED AND THE
PISTON FORCED DOWN.
AND ON THE 4TH STROKE, THE
EXHAUST GASES ARE PUSHED OUT.
THE RESULT IS AN INCREDIBLY
EFFICIENT, RELIABLE AND QUIET
ENGINE.

Andrew says THE PRINCIPLE BEHIND THIS
ENGINE - THE FOUR STROKE CYCLE -
IS ALSO KNOWN AS THE OTTO CYCLE,
AFTER THE MAN WHO INVENTED IT.
ENGINES LIKE THIS WERE QUICKLY
DEPLOYED IN FACTORIES, BUT THEY
ALSO RAPIDLY FOUND MUCH MORE
WIDESPREAD USE, PARTICULARLY IN
THE EMERGING AUTOMOBILE
INDUSTRY.
THIS IS A TRULY REVOLUTIONARY
PRINCIPLE OF ENGINEERING.
IT'S ABSOLUTELY EVERYWHERE IN
THE MODERN WORLD.

(music plays)

The narrator says WHEREAS OTTO'S INNOVATION
FOUND ITS FAME IN LIGHT
INDUSTRY, ENGINEERS AT HUDSON
YARDS ARE USING THIS
GAME-CHANGING DESIGN TO PROVIDE
AN IMMENSE POWER BACKUP SYSTEM.
IN 2015, FOUR OF THE BIGGEST
FOUR-STROKE GAS ENGINES IN THE
WORLD ARRIVED ONSITE IN
MANHATTAN.
40 TON, 20 CYLINDER, 4600
HORSEPOWER BEASTS.

Frank says WHAT WE'RE LOOKING AT HERE
IS VERY COMPARABLE TO WHAT YOU'D
FIND IN THE FRONT END OF
ANY SOUPED UP HOT ROD.
IT'S AN INTERNAL COMBUSTION
ENGINE THAT OPERATES ON A FOUR
STROKE CYCLE.
IT JUST HAPPENS TO BE ABOUT
30 FEET LONG AND 10 FEET TALL.
THIS IS REALLY THE BEATING HEART
OF THE ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE
HERE AT HUDSON YARDS.

The narrator says IF NEW YORK'S ELECTRICITY
FAILS AND THE CITY IS PLUNGED
INTO DARKNESS, THE NATURAL GAS
SUPPLY WILL KICK IN AND THESE
MONUMENTAL MACHINES WILL
TAKE OVER THE JOB OF RUNNING
THE HUDSON YARD'S POWER PLANT.

Frank says THIS PLANT PROTECTS HUDSON
YARDS FROM POWER OUTAGES BECAUSE
IT HAS THE ABILITY TO OPERATE IN
MICRO GRID MODE.
WHAT THAT MEANS, VERY SIMPLY, IS
IF THERE WERE AN ISSUE OUT ON
THE UTILITY GRID, WE COULD
SIMPLY DISCONNECT FROM THE GRID,
THEN START RESTORING POWER THAT
WE SOURCE FROM OUR PLANT HERE.
SO, THE RESIDENTS OF HUDSON
YARDS, THE BUSINESSES THAT CALL
HUDSON YARDS HOME WOULD BE ABLE
TO STAY HERE AND KEEP WORKING
COME WHAT MAY.

The narrator says WHEN CALLED UPON, THESE
MONSTER ENGINES WILL PRODUCE
OVER 13 MEGAWATTS OF POWER.

Frank says IT IS EXCITING TO HEAR
ONE OF THESE ENGINES FIRE UP.
(WHIRRING LOUDLY)
IT IS THE SAME SORT OF TEENAGE
BOY EXCITEMENT THAT YOU WOULD
FIND, YOU KNOW, TURNING OVER ANY
ENGINE...MULTIPLIED SEVERAL FOLD
BECAUSE OF THE SIZE OF THESE
ENGINES.
THIS ENGINE HAS A HEARTBEAT,
THIS ENGINE BREATHES, THIS
ENGINE CREATES ENERGY, AND YOU
GET A VERY VISCERAL SENSE OF
THAT WHEN THE PLANT IS RUNNING.

(music plays)

The narrator says THE HUDSON YARDS PROJECT
REPRESENTS IMPOSSIBLE
ENGINEERING ON A STAGGERING
SCALE.
A BRAND NEW 28 ACRE
NEIGHBOURHOOD BUILT OVER A
WORKING RAILYARD.

Jay says EVERYBODY KNOWS THE
MANHATTAN SKYLINE OF NEW YORK.
SO, WHEN YOU CHANGE IT, THAT'S
ACTUALLY, IN SOME WAYS, THE MOST
EXCITING THING - ALL OF A SUDDEN
THERE'S THIS MONUMENTAL
CATHEDRAL IN THE MIDDLE.

The narrator says EVERY STAGE OF THIS
TRAILBLAZING ENTERPRISE POSES
EXTRAORDINARY CHALLENGES.

Eli says THE ENGINEERING ON THIS
SITE IS SUCH AN EXAMPLE OF
INCREDIBLE TEAMWORK AND
INCREDIBLE VISION FROM SO MANY
PEOPLE TO BE ABLE TO BRING THIS
TO FRUITION.

The narrator says BUT INSPIRED BY THE WORK OF
THE PIONEERS OF THE PAST -
UPSCALING AND BREAKING THE
MOULD THEMSELVES -
THE ENGINEERS ARE SUCCEEDING IN
MAKING THE IMPOSSIBLE POSSIBLE.

Geoff says COMING ONTO THE CONSTRUCTION
SITE, YOU GET TO APPRECIATE IT
EVERY DAY, BUT STILL, EVERY
SINGLE DAY, IT'S A WOW MOMENT.
I LOVE THIS PROJECT.

Music plays as the end credits roll.

Narrated by Matthew Skilton.

Producer and director, Matt Litchfield.

Executive producer, Neil Edwards.

Series Producers, Gill Hennessey and Jonney Steven.

Two Four Rights. Produced in association with Yesterday.

Copyright 2018, Two-four.

Watch: Impossible Engineering Series 4 -Ep 4 - Hudson Yards