ADF: Asia Design Forum
Design Roulette, Malaysia

Leon van Schaik, studied at the University of Newcastle on Tyne and at the Architectural Association (AA) in London and is Professor of Architecture (Innovation Chair in practice based research) at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). From his base in Melbourne, he has promoted local and international architectural culture through practice-based research; through a unique research program that invites architects with a body of work demonstrating mastery to reflect upon the nature of that mastery and speculate on future practice through design; and through the commissioning of innovative architecture.

In 2000 he was commissioner for Australia at the Venice Architecture Biennale, and has been commissioner for Australia at the Rotterdam International Biennales of Architecture in 2003 and 2005. In 2003 he was made a Life Fellow of the Royal Architecture Institute of Australia in recognition of this furthering of architecture. At the 75th anniversary awards of the RAIA he was awarded the inaugural Neville Quarry Prize for Architectural Education. In 2006 he was made an Officer (AO) in the General Division of the Order of Australia, for service to architecture as an academic, practitioner, and educator, and to the community through involvement with a wide range of boards and organisations related to architecture, culture and the arts. Currently he is a member of the Victorian Arts Centre Trust. In 2008 he was an invited delegate to Australia’s 2020 Summit.


At RMIT he instituted a pioneering criterion-based process for consultant appointment that has transformed the university’s reputation for architecture and urban design through award winning buildings – a process that has influenced patronage in Melbourne and across Australia, and which is now much emulated. He has served in many consultant appointment processes including a Civic Centre in a regional city in New South Wales, the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, the UNISA faculty of architecture, Adelaide, and in 2003 the Spencer Street Station, Melbourne.

He writes on architecture for many journals and has published several books. His writings include monographs on Edmond and Corrigan, Ushida Findlay, Guilford Bell, Tom Kovac, Poetics in Architecture, The Practice of Practice, Sean Godsell, John Wardle, Denton Corker Marshall, Lyons Architects, and Cities of Hope – The work of Edmond and Corrigan. His books include Ecocells: Landscapes and Master Plans by Hamzah and Yeang; Mastering Architecture: Becoming a Creative Innovator in Practice; Design City Melbourne; Spatial Intelligence: New Futures for Architecture; Procuring Innovative Architecture (co-authored with Geoffrey London and Beth George); Meaning in Space, and The Pink Book: By invitation, By Practice - Practice Based Research at RMIT (co-authored with Anna Johnson).