Royston Landau, whose sudden and untimely death was announced last week in the AJ, divided his time between education, criticism and architectural practice, writes former AA colleague Dennis Sharp.
A sympathetic and inspiring teacher, Landau was born in 1927. He began his architectural training at UCL soon after the Second World War, but later transferred to the Modernist AA School in 1952. Shortly after graduating in 1954, he moved to the US to work as an architect in Boston, San Francisco and New Orleans, returning to teach at the AA - largely as a year master - from 1960-67. During this period he was a visiting professor at MIT (1964) and taught at the Rhode Island School of Design and the University of Pennsylvania. In the early 1970s, Landau returned to the AA to head up the AA Graduate School, giving it considerable intellectual clout. Until 1993 he acted as the course director, after which he opened a further chapter in his intellectual career by lecturing in many countries and re-establishing contacts with generations of his former students.
Together with his academic and design work, Landau - often with friends such as Cedric Price and Docomomo's Christopher Dean - found time to contribute, in a persuasive, thoughtful and measured way, to many of the current debates on the theoretical, cultural and structural contexts of architectural, as well as educational issues.
Landau's best-known publication was the timely, if rather slender book New Directions in British Architecture (1968), which depicted a vision of the future seen through built (Roehampton and Park Hill, Sheffield) and unbuilt projects that recognised the important changes brought about by the post-CIAM generation of Team X and Archigram. He also acted as a guest editor for a number of magazines. These included the Habitat issue of Architectural Design (February 1976) which reflected - in an acutely personal way - on the role of the individual in an institutionalised world.