Gilly’s theorising made him the effective leader of those, notably Schinkel, who founded Berlin’s architectural tradition; Gilly himself, dying young, built very little. His father David Gilly taught him from youth, with Langhans another of his teachers. He took Schinkel under his wing when the 16-year-old came to live in the Gillys’ house, becoming Schinkel’s close friend and mentor. These two, with Gentz and Langhans, formed an influential group of progressive architects (consciously looking to the model of Plato’s Academy). Gilly was highly charismatic; Wackenrode was suitably awed, describing him as god-like.