Leon van Schaik AO is Professor of Architecture at RMIT.
Professor Van Schaik promotes local and international architectural culture. His research focuses on creating and sustaining innovative communities of practice. He has developed a practice-based research program for architects and designers whose work demonstrates mastery in their field. This peer-based program has evolved into a biannual Practice Research Symposium (PRS) chaired by Professor van Schaik. Running over a long weekend in ten parallel streams of enquiry, the GRC has attracted widespread international interest and is being replicated in several countries. The PRS has been hailed by distinguished visitors from around the world as a uniquely important innovation in the design of a research environment.
Professor Van Schaik also writes professional reviews for internationally recognised architectural journals.
He serves on the University’s Campus Development Committee of Council, and over two decades has guided RMIT into becoming a patron of exceptional architects, helping the city of Melbourne to build a robust architectural culture.
Personal website: www.leonvanschaik.com
Leon van Schaik has three research interests:
The first area is a concern for the fundamental knowledge base of Architecture, which he believes lies in spatial thinking derived from the human capability for spatial and kinaesthetic intelligence. Over three decades he has pursued this interest through work on the poetics of architecture, and the research has resulted in a recent book – Spatial Intelligence 2008 – in which he explores the consequences for architecture of basing professionalism in spatial thinking rather than in master building. This interest drives a concern for the fundamentals of professional practice, its ethics and its basis for 'knowing, doing and helping' in society.
- The second area is in the processes of procuring innovative architecture, which research has been pursued through RMIT’s own procurement processes over two decades, and through research in Japan, Europe and the USA. This work is currently being furthered through an ARC grant with Professor Geoffrey London, former Government Architect in WA, currently Government Architect in Victoria, as a joint Chief Investigator. The research will be published by Routledge in 2010 in a book entitled Procuring Innovative Architecture.
- The third area of research involves investigating in a peer environment the nature of 'mastery' in the practice of Architecture and allied disciplines. Over sixty practices from Australasia, Europe and SE Asia have been scrutinised to date, revealing significant consistencies with other profiling of the natural history of exceptionally creative practitioners, significant consistency with processes of building public and/or group behaviours that support intellectual change, This work is captured in the book Mastering Architecture (2005)
Research leader and member of the executive of the Design Research Institute at RMIT.
Visiting Professor to the University of Westminster School of Architecture, London.
Asian Architecture and Urbanism Lab, Singapore
Supervision of postgraduate research students
Over seventy research completions to date, with 21 PhDs and 10 research Masters in the pipeline.
Accomplishments, achievements, awards
2003 Life Fellow of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects
2005 recipient of the inaugural Neville Quarry RAIA Education Prize
2006 made an Officer (AO) in the General Division of the Order of Australia
PhD(CNAA) RIBA, ARCUK, LFRAIA
Member of the Victorian Arts Centre Trust
VESKI (Victorian Endowment for Scientific Knowledge and Innovation) - Design Sub-Committee
Member of Editorial Board of Architectural Design, London
Member of General (governing) Committee of AA (Architectural Association) Asia.
- van Schaik, L. (2017). Understanding the Practice In: Fender Katsalidis: Working Architecture, Uro Publications, Melbourne Australia
- van Schaik, L. (2016). On Nobby Symour's Etherium In: Etherium: an exhibition of framed space Malmsbury, Victoria, Australia
- van Schaik, L. (2016). Leon van Schaik, Portfolio of articles in architectural/art journals/catalogues 2015-2016 In: Architecture Australia, Architectural Review, Houses, Adam Art Gallery Various
- van Schaik, L. (2015). Pavilions, Pop-Ups and Parasols: Are They Platforms for Change? In: Architectural Design, 85, 8 - 15
- van Schaik, L. (2015). The place of space in the architecture of ARM In: Mongrel Rapture: The Architecture of Ashton Raggatt McDougall, Uro Publications, Melbourne, Australia
- van Schaik, L. (2015). Practical poetics in architecture, John Wiley and Sons, United Kingdom
- Watson, F.,van Schaik, L. (2015). 100 year city (Maribor): The virtual concourse reframed In: Architectural Design, 85, 48 - 55
- van Schaik, L. (2015). Leon Van Schaik, Portfolio of Professional Publications 2015 In: Various Various
- van Schaik, L.,Ware, S.,Fudge, C.,London, G. (2014). The practice of spatial thinking: Differentiation processes In: Practice Research Symposiums 2009-2013 Melbourne, Australia
- van Schaik, L. (2014). Leon Van Schaik, Portfolio of Professional Publications 2014 In: Architecture Australia (3), Architectural Review Asia Pacific (1), Casabella (1) Various
- DAP_r Design and Architecture Practice Research. Funded by: Office for Learning and Teaching Grant 2015 from (2016 to 2018)
- Applied architectural design research for age-friendly dwellings and neighbourhoods. Administered by Monash University.. Funded by: ARC Linkage Projects via Other University Grant 2014 from (2014 to 2017)
- Architecture, Design and Art Practice Training - research: ADAPT-r. Funded by: European Commission Seventh Framework Programme Grant pre-2014 from (2013 to 2016)
- Design practice research: Uncovering the role of Spatial Intelligence in designing and in reviewing design of the built environment. Funded by: ARC Discovery 2011 from (2011 to 2013)
- Procuring Innovative Architecture: using recognised exemplars to inform a government-wide model for building a sustainable community of innovative practice. Funded by: ARC Linkage Project 2006 Round 1 from (2006 to 2009)
46 PhD Completions and 21 Masters by Research Completions8 PhD Current Supervisions