After completing her graduate studies in architecture at the University of California Berkeley and briefly practicing in San Francisco with SMWM and Vienna with Hermann Czech, Leslie began her academic career. She has taught at numerous schools in the United States (University of Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, California at Berkeley, Washington University and Arizona State University); Europe (Technical University of Vienna, Prague and Helsinki, the Aarhus School of Architecture); Japan (Hosei University); and Canada (University of British Columbia). Leslie has also taught a Free Lab with her magician brother in Halifax, a workshop in Ankara, and two intensive courses for the late Michael Sorkin in his Institute of Urbanism at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna.

In July 2010, Leslie moved to Vancouver to assume the position of Director of the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at UBC. She oversaw the development of two new degree programs housed within the school: the Master of Urban Design and a dual degree MArch and MLA option; initiated the school’s first university-wide courses; founded a mentor program matching students with professional mentors for the duration of their studies; and, in collaboration with the school’s first advisory board, launched the new Urbanarium. Upon the completion of her five-year term as Director, a donor established the generous Leslie Van Duzer SALA Legacy Fund to allow her to continue her outreach efforts.

Leslie is co-author / co-editor of four books (see below). The monographs on Loos’s Villa Müller and Mies’s Krefeld Villas each garnered The Architects’ Journal “Top Ten Books of the Year” award. These four volumes were supported by three Graham Foundation grants, the 1997 Arnold W. Brunner Grant, and a Fulbright Research Grant. 

In 2014, Leslie sole-authored House Shumiatcher, the first in a series of building monographs: West Coast Modern Houses. She initiated the series in response to widespread alarm over Vancouver’s rapidly disappearing architectural heritage. Two SALA colleagues, Sherry McKay and Chris Macdonald, joined this effort as co-editors and authors. In 2020, the series closed with the publication of the eighth book. Each monograph, published by ORO, was written by a different author; all eight feature photographs by Michael Perlmutter (Sweden) and book design by Pablo Mandel (Buenos Aires).

In 2021, Leslie sole-authored Almost, Not: The Architecture of Atelier Nishikata, an architectural monograph-magic manual about a remarkable but little-known practice in Tokyo.

She is currently preparing a new book, up l dn: works by bill pechet. In 2023, the project garnered a $25,000 Canada Council for the Arts grant. The book’s contributors include: Michael Perlmutter and Greg Girard (photographs), Bill Pechet (illustrations), Thena Tak (interview) and Pablo Mandel (book design.)

Leslie is simultaneously working on two additional projects. On Drifting Sand (working title) is based on Leslie’s 350-kilometer walk down the West Coast of Denmark, a coastal landscape under constant threat from erosion and accretion. This project, a documentation of the ongoing Sisyphean effort to preserve a long-defunct lighthouse is a collaboration with Bard Assistant Professor, Thena Tak. SALA student Zach Lauzière-Fitzgerald provided valuable research.

Dictionary of Deception, an illustrated collection of trickster terminology, was born from Leslie’s longstanding interest in deceptive practices in disciplines ranging from zoology to music to literature and magic.

Books published

Leslie Van Duzer. Almost, Not: The Architecture of Atelier Nishikata. San Francisco: ORO Editions, 2021.

Leslie Van Duzer. House Shumiatcher. San Francisco: ORO Editions, 2014.

Maria Szadkowska, Leslie Van Duzer and Dagmar Černoušková. Adolf Loos: Works in the Czech Lands. Prague: Kant Publishers, 2009.

Kent Kleinman and Leslie Van Duzer. Mies van der Rohe: Krefeld Villas. New York, NY: Princeton Architectural Press, 2005.

Kent Kleinman and Leslie Van Duzer. (Eds.) Rudolf Arnheim: Revealing Vision. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1998.

Kent Kleinman and Leslie Van Duzer. Villa Müller: A Work of Adolf Loos. New York, NY: Princeton Architectural Press, 1994, 1997. 

Select exhibitions

Leslie Van Duzer, June Geyer, Zeke Kan. If These Walls Could Talk. Commissioned by the City of Prague Museum. December 14, 2020 to August 1, 2021. 


M.Arch, UC Berkeley
BA, UC Berkeley