Alex Popov was born in Shanghai of Russian parents and moved to Sydney aged twelve. He was educated at Newington College (1958-1960) and the University of Sydney before studying further in Denmark. Popov graduated in architecture from the Royal Danish Academy of Art in 1971 and then worked with Henning Larsen and Jørn Utzon.
He returned to Australia in 1983 and established Alex Popov Architects Pty Ltd (now known as Alex Popov & Associates). The practice has been successful in a number of design competitions and has received numerous major awards from the Royal Australian Institute of Architects including several Wilkinson Awards and the Robin Boyd Award.