Manhattan Timeformations was begun in the early 90's by architect Brian McGrath, author of a folio called Transparent Cities, "a boxed edition of twenty-four historic and contemporary maps on clear acetate -- twelve of Rome, twelve of NY -- that invites readers to assemble, transform, and contemplate the ever-evolving urban spaces of almost any city". In 2000, McGrath and The Skyscraper Museum received public funds from a Technology Initiative Grant from the New York State Council on the Arts, allowing this previous research to be revisited with specific focus on New York and the age of skyscrapers. Designer Mark Watkins was brought in to put the website together, and to help reimagine the project in interactive form.
Throughout the Summer of 2000, The Skyscraper Museum, curated by Carol Willis, held a series of informal discussions with the public, presenting the aims of the project while 3D digital models of New York skyscrapers were constructed in the gallery by Parsons School of Design architecture students Akiko Hattori and Lucy Lai Wong. These models, also built by McGrath and added to his large, historical / analytical model of Manhattan, were exported and formatted for online presentation. (McGrath & Wattkins)