Gerhard von Rile is also known as Master Gerhard. He was the first Cologne Dombaumeister of the Cologne Cathedral. He also built Mönchengladbacher Cathedral. It is not known wether he was a French or German architect.
In his years of migrant and teaching he had contact to Pierre de Montereau and Jean de Chelles.
In 1247 the Canons of Cologne decided to replace the Carolingian cathedral into a modern cathedral.
At first the construction was headed by Ulrich vom Steine. He decided to torn down the walls of the eastern parts by a fire. But strong wind and inattention also ruined the remaining parts of the cathedral and it burned completely down. Only the relics of the Magi could be saved. In 1248 Archbishop Konrad von Hochstaden laid the groundwork for the re-building of Cologne Cathedral. After plans of Gerhard von Rile the choir of Cologne cathedral was built in the gothic style. He took over the vault shape and wall structure in excessive purity. He built it up in sensational speed. In 1256 he also designed the choir of the Gothic cathedral of Mönchengladbacher Münster.