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Chrisna du Plessis

Professor and Head of Department, Architecture, University of Pretoria

Chrisna du Plessis is Professor and Head of the Department of Architecture, and Chair of the School for the Built Environment, at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Before joining UP, she was employed as Principal Researcher at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), where she was responsible for conceptualizing and initiating interdisciplinary research programmes in the fields of urban sustainability, climate change, and sustainable settlement development. She holds graduate and post-graduate degrees in architecture and sustainable development from the University of Pretoria, a PhD in Urban Sustainability from the University of Salford in the UK and an honorary doctorate from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden. Her research concentrates on developing the principles and guiding frameworks for the practices of sustainable construction and human settlement development, with a current focus on resilience and regeneration and she has published some of her thinking in the award-winning Designing for Hope: Pathways to regenerative sustainability. Prof du Plessis is also a Board Member, past Chair of the Programme Committee, and Leader of the Priority Theme Sustainable Construction of the International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction (CIB). She has further served as a juror for the LafargeHolcim Foundation Sustainable Building Competition (MEA region, June 2011 & 2017) and European Solar Decathlon (2011 and 2014). She is an NRF C1 rated research and has published over 50 peer-reviewed publications and has been invited to speak as keynote or invited plenary speaker at more than 60 national and international conferences, and is a regular guest speaker at industry events.


  • –present
    Associate Professor and Head of Department, Architecture , University of Pretoria
  • 2005–2010
    Principal Researcher, CSIR Built Environment
  • 1997–2005
    Senior researcher, CSIR Boutek


  • 2009 
    University of Salford, PhD
  • 1999 
    University of Pretoria, Masters of Architecture
  • 1991 
    University of Pretoria, Bachelor of Architecture (5 year)

Grants and Contracts

  • 2018
    Stitching the City – from micro-data to macro views
    Principal Investigator
    Funding Source:
  • 2012
    Resiliency Strategies for Aspirational African Cities
    Principal Investigator
    Funding Source:


AfriSam-SAIA Award for Innovation in Sustainability, 2017 (Research Category); University of Salford Alumni Achievers Award, 2012; Honorary Doctorate, Chalmers University of Technology, 2011