Hugh Casson studied Architecture at St John's Collegein Cambridge, and at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London. He taught in Cambrige and worked at the offices of his teacher, Christopher Nicholson. During the Second World War, he worked for the Air Ministry. After the war, he was appointed Director of Architecture for the South Bank Exhibition of 1951, and received a knighthood for his efforts. He then returned to the firm of which he was senior partner, Casson Conder, a notable commission of theirs was the Elephant House at London Zoo. He created the School of Interior Design at the Royal College of Art, and designed the interior for the Royal Yacht Britannia, among others. His close friendship with the royal family meant he taught Prince Charles to paint in watercolours. In 1976 he was made President of the Royal Academy, a post which he held until 1984.