Robert John Lansdown | i |
last name: Lansdown
first name: Robert John
birthday: January 2, 1929
birth-place: Cardiff (Wales, United Kingdom)
death date: February 17, 1999
died in: London (United Kingdom)

John Lansdown was a computer graphics pioneer, polymath and professor emeritus at Middlesex University’s centre for electronic arts.
He joined a London architectural practice as an architectural assistant, rising to associate and eventually becoming a Partner in Turner, Lansdown, Holt & Paterson. He had identified the impact of operational research, mathematics and eventually computing on architecture as early as 1960.

John Lansdown was a believer in the use of computers for architecture and other creative activities. He pioneered the use of computers as an aid to planning, making perspective drawings on an Elliott 803 computer in 1963, modelling buildings lifts and services, plotting the annual fall of daylight across its site, and authoring his own Computer Aided Design applications. In his 30 years as architect and planner, he developed master plans for the tourist industry in Morocco and Cyprus, the layout of the Bay Area, Asuncion, Paraguay as well as buildings all over the UK (including the Hampstead Theatre) and Europe.

He had enormous influence as founder member and secretary of the Computer Arts Society (1968-1991) and was on the British Computer Society Council (1980-83). From the early 1970s to the 1990s, he took influential roles in several professional bodies through which he drove the world leading strategy for developing Computer Aided Architectural Design in UK Universities.

He founded ‘System Simulation’ with members of Computer Arts Society, a company which developed major innovations in computer animation and special effects. Through it, he developed major innovations in computer animation, such as special effects for advertisements, the feature films Alien, Saturn III and Heavy Metal and the realisation of the original animated Channel 4 logo.


Further information at the Lansdown Centrefor Electronic Arts.


1951 Graduated with a Diploma in Architecture from the Welsh School of Architecture.
1955-1983 Partner: Turner Lansdown Holt and Paterson, Architects and Planning Consultants.
1952 Associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects RIBA.
1964 Joined the British Computer Society, became a Fellow in 1986.
1968 Founder member of the Computer Arts Society and secretary till 1991.
1969 Instrumental in organising ‘Event One’ at the RCA which used computers in the creation of art.
1972 Joined the Association of Computing Machinery.
1973 Involved with ‘Interact’ at the Edinburgh Festival establishing the use of computers for the creation of art works.
1977 Founded ‘System Simulation’ with members of Computer Arts Society, a company which developed innovations in computer animation and special effects.
1980-83 Member of the British Computer Society Council.
1983 Royal College of Art, ‘Computer Graphics Today’, RCA, Exhibited 4 computer graphics works
1983 onwards Senior Visiting Fellow at the Department of Architectural Science, University of Sydney. Took up visiting roles in the Royal College of Art, St Martin’s
School of Art, City University, the Universities of London, Bournemouth and Derby and maintained links with Universities in France, Germany, Holland and Spain.
1986 Awarded the 20th Anniversary Award British Computer Society Displays Group For contributions to development of computing in architecture and the arts.
1987 Wrote the classic ‘Teach Yourself Computer Graphics’ (Hodder and Stoughton).
1988 Joined the staff of Middlesex Polytechnic (later University) as Head of the Centre for Advanced Studies in Computer Aided Art and Design (later Centre for Electronic Arts).
1990 Choreographed the 18 minute dance piece ‘A/C/S/H/O’ commissioned by the ‘One Extra Dance Company’ and performed at the Sydney Opera House.
1992 Became Dean of the Faculty of Art, Design and Performing Arts , later the Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University in 1993.
1995 Formally retired but remained influential as Emeritus Professor mentoring research projects at the Centre for Electronic Arts.
Exhibitions organized
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