The Bartlett School of Architecture


Tilo Amhoff



From town plan to plan economy: Germany, Berlin, 1848-1933

First and second supervisors 

Professor Adrian Forty & Dr Peg Rawes


My PhD research started with the simple observation that the plan was discussed in architecture and economics. This ignited my investigation into the relationship of the urban, economic and social plan, my search for the origins of the plan as a concept, and a research into the role of the paper plan as a medium in the discourse and process of planning.

I am interested in how the plan established a unique way of seeing and visualizing, of describing and theorizing, of organizing and managing the city, the factory, the economy and the society. I wonder how we can discuss the plan as a material object, a drawing, a legal document, and a conception of the future all at the same time.

My PhD research looks at the notion of the plan in late 19th and early 20th century Germany; from the ‘building plan’ of German Städtebau, to the ‘economic plan’ in political economy and scientific management, to the ‘plan economy’ of World War One and the following socialist projects. I am curious if and if so in what way the plans of the town planners, architects, official administrators, scientific managers, and socialist revolutionaries were related.

Following a well-established position in media theory I propose to describe and theorize the plan as a medium and a cultural technique. The distinction is meaningful because it allows us to think of the plan as material object, usually a piece of paper, and a technique, devised by human beings, to for instance organize processes or relations in space. The paper is important for the plan to exist, to be drawn out, to operate, to be visible, to be circulated, and to be discussed. The technique on the other hand is the actual drawing out, the making visible, the arrangement, and the organization.


Tilo Amhoff studied architecture at the Bauhaus-University Weimar, the University of Applied Arts Vienna, and the Virginia Tech University. He was a lecturer at the chair of Design and Architectural Theory at the Bauhaus-University Weimar. He went on to receive an MSc in Architectural History from the Bartlett School of Architecture with a thesis on the development of nineteenth century contractual documents in England.

Tilo Amhoff is currently a Lecturer in Architecture History and Theory at the University of Brighton and a PhD candidate and teaching fellow at the Bartlett School of Architecture. He is a founder member of Netzwerk Architekturwissenschaft.