Robert Tavernor studied architecture in London (BA and Dip. Arch with Distinction ), Rome (Scholar in Architecture at the British School of Rome ), and at the University of Cambridge (St John's College, PhD 1985). He was appointed Professor of Architecture and Urban Design, and Director of the Cities Programme at the London School of Economics (LSE) in 2005. He has previously held chairs in architecture at the universities of Edinburgh and Bath from 1992 to 2005. He has also held various visiting academic posts internationally, including: Visiting Professor at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA, 1998); European Union Visiting Scholar in Planning and Conservation at Texas A+M (2002), and Visiting Professor at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil (2004).

He is an architect and urban design consultant, and an architectural historian. He has combined this expertise using computers to visualise historic and contemporary architecture for exhibitions and publications. His books include Palladio and Palladianism (Thames and Hudson, 1991 - subsequently translated into Italian, Chinese, Korean), and On Alberti and the Art of Building (Yale University Press, 1998). He is co-translator of two English architectural treatises: Leon Battista Alberti's 15th century De re aedificatoria, as On the Art of Building in Ten Books, (The MIT Press, 1988); and Andrea Palladio's 16th century I quattro libri dell'architettura, as The Four Books on Architecture (The MIT Press, 1997). He co-edited and contributed to Body and Building: Essays on the changing relation of Body to Architecture (The MIT Press, 2002).