After completing her graduate studies in architecture at the University of California Berkeley and briefly practicing in San Francisco and Vienna, Leslie began her academic career at the University of Michigan. She subsequently held positions at numerous schools in the United States, Europe, Asia and Canada including: the University of Minnesota, University of Pennsylvania, Washington University, Arizona State University, University of California Berkeley; Technical Universities in Vienna, Prague and Helsinki, and the Arkitekskolen in Aarhus; Hosei University in Tokyo; and the University of British Columbia. Additionally, she has taught design workshops in Halifax, Ankara and Vienna and lectured widely.
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; 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 a new non-profit organization, the 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: Adolf Loos: Works in the Czech Lands, Mies van der Rohe: Krefeld Villas, and Rudolf Arnheim: Revealing Vision (with Kent Kleinman), and Villa Müller: A Work of Adolf Loos (with Maria Szadkowska and Dagmar Černoušková.) The two building monographs were awarded The Architects’ Journal “Top Ten Books of the Year” award. The books 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 documenting endangered West Coast Modern houses in British Columbia. Leslie Initiated the ongoing series in response to widespread alarm over Vancouver's rapidly disappearing architectural heritage. Two colleagues (Sherry McKay and Chris Macdonald) joined this effort as co-editors and authors, and in 2016/17, the team will produce the next four monographs published by ORO, each by a different author.
As an extension of Leslie's longstanding interest in the art of deception in architecture and stage magic, she is currently writing her sixth book, Atelier Nishikata: When This Becomes That.