UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage

Dr Alejandra Albuerne

Dr Alejandra Albuerne


Bartlett School Env, Energy & Resources

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
27th Mar 2017

Research summary

Alejandra is a structural engineer and construction historian specialized in masonry buildings and heritage conservation. Alongside engineering, Alejandra has a background in history of architecture and construction, urban resilience, international development and participatory design processes.

Alejandra’s engineering research covers traditional constructions and heritage structures. She specialises in the mechanics of masonry constructions, with a particular interest in their seismic behaviour. Her current research looks at how traditional structures behave in earthquakes and finding simplified modelling and analytical approaches that can efficiently estimate the safety of a building. A crucial application of this work is disaster-prone areas in the Global South, where domestic heritage is rich but where the technical engineering resources available to look after it are limited.

At present Alejandra is engaged in the preservation of urban heritage in Nepal, after the earthquakes of 2015. In this cross-disciplinary work, engineering – necessary for the physical preservation of domestic heritage buildings- is combined with other disciplines such as community engagement and economics to support local communities to rebuild their towns while preserving their tangible and intangible heritage.

Alejandra has previously worked on the research project ‘Promoting Safer Building’ as part of UCL’s EPICentre. The project explored how individuals, households and communities can be supported to rebuild after a disaster in a manner that is safer, that is, so that homes can resist hazards to avoid injury and death and to minimise economic loss. 

Teaching summary

Alejandra is the Course Director of the new MSc Data Science for Cultural Heritage programme. She is also joint Assistant Course Director of the MSc on Sustainable Heritage at the UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage.

Alejandra's teaching interests include traditional construction materials (masonry and timber), mechanics of historic structures, construction history, building surveying and monitoring, and heritage at risk. 


University College London
FHEA, Teaching and Learning in Higher Education | 2019
University of Oxford
DPhil, Engineering Science | 2016
Unversidad Politecnica De Madrid
SUFI, Architecture and Engineering | 2008
University of Cambridge
MEng (Hons), Engineering | 2003


Alejandra was appointed Lecturer in Sustainable Heritage at the UCL  Institute for Sustainable Heritage in September 2017, where she is joint Assistant Course Director of the MSc in Sustainable Heritage.

Alejandra has worked in the field of conservation of architecture for over 12 years, both in academia and in industry. She has spent 8 of these years in industry working for specialised structural engineering firms in London and Madrid, such as Alan Baxter and Associates and Arup.

In academia Alejandra has worked with Professor Santiago Huerta on the mechanics of masonry structures at the School of Architecture of Madrid and in 2010 she obtained an EPSRC scholarship to do a PhD at Oxford Unviersity studying the dynamics of masonry vaulted structures.

Alejandra then spent two years as Stipendiary Lecturer in Engineering Science at Oxford University and in March 2017 she joined UCL as research associate in EPICentre, part of the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering within the Faculty of Engineering Sciences.