Author(s): Leon van Schaik
Leon van Schaik AO, Professor of Architecture at RMIT University for 30 years and mentor to countless Australian architects, lays down his highly influential creative philosophies in his latest book, Architecture in its Continuums. The text represents a distillation of a lifetime of thinking about architecture and the ways in which it is practiced, researched and taught.
The book remediates a gap that van Schaik sees in current architecture writing. There are, he says, ‘very few books on architecture that, I believe, concern the practice of architecture itself, as distinct from the large body of writing about the history, sociology and environmental science of architecture’. Van Schaik contends that we all share a common experience of space and light. Therefore, the architect’s skill in the crafting of space and light has the potential to intimately connect architecture with humanity. Here he presents 21 hand-drawn ideograms that illustrate and enrich his writing.
In her introduction, Kate Heron, Professor of Architecture at University of Westminster, writes, ‘he evokes spatial experiences and memories to act as signposts, repeatedly questioning his own thinking as he hones his position. The reader is drawn into his world.’
This interweaving of philosophy and experience offers new ways of thinking about architecture learning.
As Professor Vivian Mitsogianni, Associate Dean of Architecture and Urban Design, RMIT writes, ‘Leon’s analysis of what venturous and innovative designers actually do has provided useful material and frameworks that allow us to argue more broadly for the increased participation of design practitioners within design education.’
Leon van Schaik is a Professor of Architecture at RMIT and Innovation Professor and Innovation Chair of Design Practice Research. He studied at Architectural Association in London before commencing his position at RMIT in 1987.