Thomas Stellmach

Thomas Stellmach Portrait


Thomas is best known as founder of TSPA Making Cities, and as planning expert for UN-Habitat. He focuses on sustainable urbanism in a transforming world.

CV Thomas Stellmach

Thomas Stellmach is founder and director of TSPA (Thomas Stellmach Planning and Architecture) in Berlin. Born in Freiburg, Germany, he studied Architecture TU Berlin and UPC Barcelona, graduating in 2003. His focus of interest is strategic urban planning in a transforming world.

Since 2001 Thomas teaches and researches sustainable urban planning in an international context. He taught as assistant professor for urban planning at the renowned Berlage Institute and as guest professor at the University for Science and Arts in Aleppo, Syria. He conducted design studios and lectured at institutions such as Tsinghua University in Beijing, Technische Universität Berlin, Academie voor Bouwkunst in Rotterdam, Strelka Institute in Moscow and UPC in Barcelona. He was recently invited to talked about TSPA’s work in Amsterdam, Baghdad, Beirut, Moscow, Izhevsk and Yakutsk.

In his career Thomas conceived Europe’s then-largest urban extension project, “project a101” in Russia and supervised London’s 110 ha Barking Riverside neighbourhood development for Maxwan a+u in Rotterdam. In 2009, he won the competition for young architects Europan 10 with an urban plan for the city of Heidelberg in Germany. In the same year he founded Uberbau planning and architecture together with Ali Saad; TSPA (Thomas Stellmach Planning and Architecture) emerged from that partnership in 2014.

Recent examples of his work are a strategic plan for the 8 million people of Germany’s challenged Ruhr region, the plan for Astana’s Expo 2017 and city transformation projects in Baghdad and Moscow, as well as a spatial concept for Paris’ precarious banlieue districts and the competition-winning concept for Berlin’s central library and adjacent neighbourhood. In 2016 the construction of the new urban centre of Naberezhny Chelny in Russia started, which was designed by TSPA in 2015.

He is consultant for UN-Habitat supporting the programme for achieving sustainable urban development and coordinating pilot projects in the Philippines, Rwanda and Mozambique. He is a sought-after facilitator for rapid planning workshops and has recently trained planning professionals and city leaders in Kenya, Malaysia, Philippines and Rwanda. He currently advises the Indonesian Government on developing Eco Districts as part of an European and French initiative for sustainable and climate-sensitive urban transformation.

Thomas has previously advised the Aga Khan Foundation and the German Development Service GIZ in matters of best practice in urban development and spatial planning. He conceived an urban vision and strategic development plan for the 2.6 million people of Aleppo, Syria for GIZ and the Cities Alliance.

Thomas is member of the international organisation of planning professionals isocarp and holds a chair for urban design at the RISEBA University in Riga.