Robert Alexander Briggs was born in London and educated at Smallwood, Hampstead and Sherbourne. He was articled to Gilbert R. Redgrave from 1876 until 1879. He attended Royal Academy Schools and Architectural Association classes. Briggs worked in the offices of G. Moreing, Edward I’Anson, Lewis Henry Isaacs and Henry Louis Florence, Ernest Claude Ayton-Lee and J.J. O’Callaghan of Dublin from 1879 to 1883. He won the Soane Medallion in 1883 and spent some time travelling on the Continent during which time he met and befriended Andrew Noble Prentice. The following year he comenced independent practice. In 1910 he formed a partnership with Charles Gordon Killmister and Harry Le Cronier Browning (b.1881) in 1910, practising with them until 1913. He was elected Associate of the RIBA on 9 January 1882, his proposers being E. Woodthorpe, E.C. Lee and H.L. Florence. Briggs was then elected Fellow on 18 January 1892, this time being proposed by H.L. Florence, F.T. Baggallay and R.P. Spiers.
Briggs was also the author of a number of publications on domestic architecture, the first of which earned him the nickname by his contemporaries: ‘Bungalow Briggs’:
‘Bungalows and Country Residences’, 1891
‘Homes for the Country’ ‘, 1904
‘Country Cottages and Homes’, 1910
‘Essentials of a Country House’, 1911
‘Pompeian Decorations’, 1911