With more than 22 years experience as a practising architect and five years experience as researcher in green buildings, skills development, and advanced construction technologies, Llewellyn van Wyk has certainly made a name for himself as a high performance design expert.

As part of the CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research) Llewellyn is spearheading local research, in the implementation of sustainable strategies within local communities with additional wide-ranging interests including research, systemic and integrated ecological planning, policy formulation, effective management, resource governance and formulating adaptive and mitigating strategies for innovation.

Steffen Fischer, on behalf of 4SA stole an email interview from the green building expert and picked his brain about his love for design and the future of sustainable building.

You have been practising for over 22 years as an architect, what made you move to the CSIR?

I developed a personal interest in sustainability in the mid-1990s and so when an opportunity came up to pursue this interest full time at the CSIR I was thrilled.

How did you get involved within the built environment, particularly in sustainable building?

My work focuses on this complementarily, and how this can be applied at a local scale on a daily basis.

What is the difference between green construction and the standard construction when building? 

Green building works with nature, rather against it, and working with nature means harmonising the activities of nature to be complementary with building.

Can you explain the current activities and research interests relating to sustainability which you’re currently working and involved in?

Energy efficiency is probably the biggest driver at this time. This has also opened up the space to consider low carbon and the green economy. The shift to renewable energy is thus probably the biggest trend currently.

Sustainability is a broad and widely (often misused) term – Can you tell us what your definition of sustainability is?

Sustainability is the potential to continue: it really only applies at a universal level though because even though nature goes through its cycles, many species become extinct along the way.

How does what you do with the CSIR benefit the built environment and sustainability?

We will get buildings to become self-reliant and therefore more resilient using innovative technologies.