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SKYLINE ATLAS - Frankfurt Real Estte - Frankfurt Architecture - Questions and Answers about Frankfurt Urban Developments

How did the SKYLINE ATLAS come about?

Two key initiators of the SKYLINE ATLAS are Michael Wutzke and Daniel Kieckhefer, who have known each other for more than 20 years. The SKYLINE ATLAS exists today because both have a great passion for high-rise architecture, think Frankfurt is wonderful and want to inspire others about the city.

However, the SKYLINE ATLAS is only a side project of the two initiators today. The content of the publication is largely complete and is usually only updated with major news. More than 30 people have now contributed to the publication.

Michael developed his passion for high-rise buildings in 1995 while visiting Barcelona. Full of admiration he noticed the sloping towers Torre Mapfre and Hotel Arts. When he returned to his home region of Frankfurt, he visited bookstores and discovered that inconsistent information had been printed on some of Frankfurt’s high-rise buildings. Different information was given about the same tower in different books. Instead of writing to the publishers, he used his programming skills and designed the first high-rise guide about the German metropolis on the Internet.

In 1996, Boomtown Frankfurt, the “spiritual predecessor” of the SKYLINE ATLAS went online: an architectural guide over the skyline of the German skyscraper city. At that time there were hardly any websites about Frankfurt architecture. One year after the launch of the website, the first award finally took place: Yahoo chose Boomtwn Frankfurt as “Germany’s website of the year” in the field of “Art and Culture”.

From being a niche website, the portal gradually developed into a bigger information portal. With the advent of more websites on the Internet, information about the Frankfurt skyscrapers was distributed on hundreds of websites by third parties. In 1999 Boomtown Frankfurt became the international high-rise database Skyscrapers.com and the pure focus on urban development in Frankfurt was given up. At Skyscrapers.com, people from all over the world could participate in the input and publication of content. Hundreds of people quickly entered data on high-rise buildings in their respective regions.

Daniel Kieckhefer from Chicago was one of the first editors of Skyscrapers.com and has been a leading figure in the community for years. In 2000, Daniel Kieckhefer, Garrret Stout, Marshall Gerometta, Rick Bronson, Michael Wutzke, and other editors presented the world’s first high-rise award under the Skyscrapers.com brand. Since then, the presentation has been repeated every year.

At the time, Skyscrapers.com was the only and later largest high-rise database. The attacks of 9/11 increased the number of hits eighty-fold within a few months. Many international media outlets (CNN, Reuters, Bloomberg, etc.) made reference to information from Skyscrapers.com in their reportings. Wikipedia did not exist at that time either.

In 2003 the United States Congress used the Skyscrapers.com database to process the terrorist attacks on New York and published a report on the risk of attacks on high-rise buildings in large American cities, based on the high-rise data from Skyscrapers.com. For example, it was examined where high-rise buildings were, what structural materials they were and how many people they would accommodate.

In 2004 Skyscrapers.com was renamed Emporis and the focus was expanded away from high-rise buildings. The high-rise association CTBUH (Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat) closed its own database in 2007 and only used Emporis. Daniel Kiechhefer moved from Chicago to Frankfurt and was Head of Data Research at Emporis and spent many years in that position. Other people such as Janne Puustelli also moved to Frankfurt and have since been intensively involved in documenting the development of high-rise buildings there. Michael Wutzke coordinated the group of local editors and was also responsible for IT from the beginning of the developments. Numerous reports on the work of those involved come from this time, for example on the German national TV ZDF.

Shortly afterwards, Wikipedia went online. Tens of thousands of skyscrapers were posted on Wikipedia by volunteers and the data from Emporis was copied in bulk without asking for permission to do so. This also explains why Emporis is well linked in Wikipedia, especially for older buildings.

Finally, around 2010, Daniel Kieckhefer, Michael Wutzke, and several other members left Emporis. The CTBUH started its own database and also used the basic data of the original high-rise editors, which are now widely available on the Internet. Daniel Kieckhefer moved back to Chicago and founded Phorio with the support of several editors. Therefore, the datasets created up to 2010 at Emporis, CTBUH, and Phorio are largely identical.

Many of the original editors followed the high-rise developments in Frankfurt for years only as silent observers without writing about them. In 2016, however, they considered whether they should not start a pure high-rise portal only about Frankfurt. And so it came as it had to come.

Shortly afterwards, Wikipedia went online. Tens of thousands of skyscrapers were posted on Wikipedia by volunteers and the data from Emporis was copied in bulk without asking for permission to do so. This also explains why Emporis is well linked in Wikipedia, especially for older buildings.

Finally, around 2010, Daniel Kieckhefer, Michael Wutzke, and several other members left Emporis. The CTBUH started its own database and also used the basic data of the original high-rise editors, which are now widely available on the Internet. Daniel Kieckhefer moved back to Chicago and founded Phorio with the support of several editors. Therefore, the datasets created up to 2010 at Emporis, CTBUH, and Phorio are largely identical.

Many of the original editors followed the high-rise developments in Frankfurt for years only as silent observers without writing about them. In 2016, however, they considered whether they should not start a pure high-rise portal only about Frankfurt. And so it came as it had to come.

The SKYLINE ATLAS saw the light of day at the end of 2016, around 20 years after the original start of its spiritual predecessor. And just like back then, interested people can join in and discuss. In contrast to then, however, not only individual buildings are portrayed, but topics that are more difficult to find elsewhere in a context: articles on the city’s history, interviews, and tips for experiencing the skyline.

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