Leon van Schaik studied at the Architectural Association (AA) in London and is professor of architecture at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) where he holds an innovation chair.
From his base in Melbourne, he has promoted local and international architectural culture through practice-based research. In 2005, at the 75th anniversary awards of the RAIA he was awarded the inaugural Neville Quarry Prize for Architectural Education.
On 26 January 2006 Leon van Schaik was awarded an Order of Australia, Officer (AO) in the General Division, 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. He is the author of Mastering Architecture: Becoming a Creative Innovator in Practice (2005), and Design City Melbourne (2006).
He provided editorial advice and an essay the monograph on John Wardall Architects Volume (2008) and Denton Corker Marshall: Non-fictional Narratives (2008). His latest book, Spatial Intelligence, was released in September 2008.
He has two children from a former marriage, one of whom, son Jan, is also a Melbourne architect. When asked whether he has remarried, van Schaik answers with jolting honesty. "No. One of the reasons behind that is that I'm fundamentally gay... I make no secret about this, and there was no secret about it when I got married either."