Chinas written history goes back 5,000 years, so you cant really talk about the birth of a nation, but thats essentially whats happening. Everywhere you look, cities are being rebuilt and reorganised. They are now bristling with hypermodern towers, studded with shopping malls and linked by a host of new airports. The Beijing Olympics were intended to give expression to this economic revolution through architecture and engineering, so the principal venues had to be among the most astonishing on Planet Earth. We look at how the construction industry tried to accomplish that task

The Great Leap Forward: China Olympics special