Mariana Esponda

Associate Professor

Following her training as an architect in Mexico, she obtained a PhD in 2004 on the “Assessment of the Intervention with Concrete in Restoration of Historical Buildings in Spain and in Mexico,” completed in the Department of Restoration and Construction at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC), Spain. Dr. Esponda has been working on heritage buildings, in both the private and public sector, for the last 18 years in North America as well as Spain and Italy to fully understand historical constructions and to create new sustainable designs. Her projects include restoration on modernism historical facades, adaptive reuse on churches, monasteries and industrial buildings, conditional assessment and rehabilitation on existing structures.

As a teacher and practicing conservation architect, Mariana Esponda expands knowledge and train young generations about how to improve heritage buildings and to readapt historical constructions with new and sustainable uses. Dr. Esponda is exploring a new line of investigation in Sustainable Heritage Conservation, balancing cultural and natural heritage, integrating environmental construction techniques, social and economic practices. During 2015 to 2018, she studied in detail different vernacular architecture from the Laurentians, Quebec. Dr. Esponda tried to explore not only the physical aspects of the square log houses, such as the use of traditional building materials, craftsmanship, and construction techniques, but also the socio-cultural values linked to living conditions, a sense of place, collective memory of the community, and how the climate change has affected those dwellings. Undoubtedly, these wood structures from the end of the 19th century represent material and social constructs, local values, expressions of Canadian identity, and environmental and economical benefits.

Dr. Esponda’s research also has focused on developing studies on the interaction between traditional techniques and new materials in heritage buildings, with a special focus on assessment of traditional building technologies and to allow a new life through contemporary interventions/use. She also studied reinforced concrete during the modern era in order to identify building technology, language-innovation, signs of deterioration and repair. 

Currently she got two research grants to study the “Concrete in the National Capital Region -from technological innovation to Sustainable Rehabilitation” and “How the Climate Change is impacting heritage buildings and look on the mitigation/adaptation strategies”.

Through different stakeholders (public, a non-profit organization, industry, community, etc.). Dr. Esponda and her students have worked in community-led collaborative projects in Ottawa and surroundings. Some of the conservation ideas have become a research project through different agencies. Since 2010, all the studio projects involved real solutions, where the community needs are the essential element for the students’ proposal, include but are not limited to the adaptive reuse of the Ottawa New Edinburgh Boat Club (ONEC), the Deschatelets Building as a Community Center, the United Church on Merrickville as a Performance Center, the Southminster United Church and Trinity Anglican Church; the Conservation Master plan for Heron Campanille and the industrial Booth Street Campus; compatible additions to the Chateau Laurier, the Saint Paul University and the Alliance Francaise School; Heritage Conservation District on the Village of Russell for a future infill; new vision for Central Experimental Farm and Victoria Island -Chaudiere Falls-; Repurposing the Almont Bridge, and the condition assessment and treatment of intervention for two modern house the Strutt House in Gatineau and the Borman House. 

Building on Carleton University’s international reputation in Heritage Conservation, since 2017, Dr. Esponda has organized and taught with multidisciplinary experts the Azrieli Continuing Education (ACE) on Heritage, where professionals gain more knowledge on heritage values and policies, heritage property evaluation, digital documentation strategies, repairing historical structures, approaches to adaptive reuse, etc.



PhD in Architecture – Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC), Spain

MArch – Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico-UNAM


ARCS 3105 – Adaptive Reuse Studio, “Expanding Community: Building in and out of Building”

ARCC 3501 – Fundamentals of Conservation and Sustainability

ARCC 5401 – Evaluation of Heritage Properties


Architectural Conservation/Heritage

Traditional materials and techniques/ craftsmanship 

Vernacular architecture

Interconnection between heritage and sustainability

Adaptive reuse for new and sustainable uses

Environmental construction techniques

Building Rehabilitation for improvement- condition assessment

Climate change and mitigation strategies in existing buildings

Preservation of Modern Heritage and concrete in the 20th century

Materials deterioration / maintenance 

Restoration after earthquake 

Heritage Documentation

Risk Assessment for the protection of built heritage

NSERC Create Heritage Engineering grant with Professor Mario Santana (P.I.)

SSHRC New Paradigm New Tools with Professor Stephen Fai (P.I.)



Scientific Committee of Historical Construction in Latin American 

ICOMOS Energy and Sustainability Scientific Committee & ISCARSAH Scientific Committee

DO.CO.MO.MO (Documentation Conservation Modern Movement)

Association for Preservation Technology International (APT)

National Round Table on Heritage Education, National Trust

Cátedra “Gonzalo de Cárdenas” de Arquitectura Vernácula

OAA Sustainable Built Environment (SBEC)

Society of Architectural Historians

Heritage Ottawa

Strutt Foundation

2020 OSCAR Forum Historic and Modern Concrete Presentation 

HODI Award Built Heritage Conservation

The Atmospheric Fund (TAF) 

Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC)