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 Melina (Francisca) Guirnaldos-Diaz

Melina (Francisca) Guirnaldos-Diaz

Research student, Welsh School of Architecture


Melina Guirnaldos is a Spanish architect with 8 years of practicing and academic experience. In 2008 she was awarded the Talentia Fellowship to pursue an MSc in Architectural Restoration and Recovery of Historic Cities at Roma Tre University (Italy) with Columbia University (USA) and Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture Paris-Belleville (France) as partner institutions. To complete her MSc, she collaborated as an intern architect in the project management team of the restoration of the Baths of Caracalla in Rome where she also worked as a freelance architect in the design of 6 urban recovery masterplans within the Participative Processes programme organised by the Town Planning Department of Rome City Council.

In Spain she worked for over 2 years as an Architectural Heritage Consultant in the Department of Culture of the Regional Government of Andalusia. She is founding partner of W+G Architects, where she has developed projects such as the Landscape Intervention and Restoration of the Palace of the Emperor Susenyos, the Jesuit cathedral in Ethiopia and the competition for the urban regeneration of Santiago de Chile Government area, which was awarded with an international urban prize.

She has been invited to lecture to Cardiff University, the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the University of Granada among other institutions. She has worked as a contributor in architectural reviews such as aU arquitetura e urbanismo in Brasil as well as coordinator of international workshops and seminars, such as the Italo-Spanish Seminar on Contemporary Architecture intervention on Heritage held at The Alhambra (Granada, Spain) in 2009.

Since 2013 Melina collaborates as Assistant Researcher in EMUVE (Euro Mediterranean Urban Voids Ecology) a European research project at the Welsh School of Architecture where she is currently developing teaching activities and her PhD studies funded by Cardiff University's College of Physical Sciences.

Selected publications

Wulff, F., Guirnaldos, M., 2015, W+G architects: Intervention Systems in cultural landscapes. In: I Seminario Internacional sobre Paisaje, Cordoba (Spain) 15th-18th December, 2014.

Davis, J., Wulff, F., Guirnaldos, M., eds. 2014. Port City: urban and architectural designing for resilience. Cardiff University: Welsh School of Architecture.

Davis, J., Wulff, F., Guirnaldos, M., 2014. Heritage, culture and regeneration: the role of coal in the future of Cardiff Bay, In: 4th International Conference on Heritage and Sustainable Development, Guimaraes (Portugal).

Wulff, F., Guirnaldos, M., 2014. Social and Cultural Interventions for the post crisis European Landscape, Paisea. Revista de Paisajjsmo 28, pp. 102-107.

Guirnaldos, M.,2014, Convento das Bernardas: New openings on History, aU Architetura e Urbanismo 247, pp 28-35.

Guirnaldos, M.,2014, Ecosystem in color, aU Architetura e Urbanismo 248, pp 48-53.

Wulff, F., Guirnaldos, M., 2013. Euro Mediterranean Urban Voids Ecology. In: ENHSA: European Network of Heads of Schools of Architecture, Naples, 2nd-4th October, 2013, pp 527-540.

Guirnaldos, M.,2013, Viana do Castelo and the expressiveness by the river, aU Architetura e Urbanismo 233, pp 60-69.

Guirnaldos, M.,2013, El Greco Palace of Congresses: Engraved on the rock, aU Architetura e Urbanismo 228, pp 42-47.

Wulff, F., Guirnaldos, M., eds. 2012, Arquitectura contemporanea en el patrimonio. Granada University.

Wulff, F., Guirnaldos, M., 2012, Proposals for the Urban Landscape of the Medina of Tetuan, In: II International Conferences of UNESCO World Heritage Cities. Córdoba (Spain), April 2012.

Guirnaldos, M.,2012, The Legacy of Common Ground, aU Architetura e Urbanismo 223, p 62.

Guirnaldos, M.,2012, Common Space. ArteOficio 9, p 55.



Heritage Preservation: Exploring new architectural strategies through intangible values

Nowadays the definition of Heritage encompasses broad values that are widely defined and classified by international organizations such as UNESCO and ICOMOS. The understanding of heritage is now internationally agreed to include ‘tangible’ and ‘intangible’ values as well as environmental aspects (Ahmad, 2006). Nevertheless current architectural heritage interventions, which are still based on mainstream approaches, only emphasize the recovery of the physical qualities of the object, considering as they do preserved buildings as merely relics of the past. This results in an incomplete transfer of the extended values which constitute the inheritance of a place leading to a disconnection with its present urban context. According to the results of questionnaires sent in 2000 to the National Commissions for UNESCO regarding the definition of intangible heritage, the majority assumes that vernacular tectonics form part of it, but beyond this, the contribution of architecture is fairly limited. The current research intends to expand this contribution through the investigation of innovative preservation methodologies based on intangible values in post-industrial landscapes that are in the process of being incorporated in our contemporary social identity.

The research focuses on the new definition of post-industrial heritage based on the idea that social and spatial phenomena are interlinked and on its significance within the urban legacy. According to this idea, a critical review of the meaning of the concept of value in architectural heritage from the post-modernist phenomenology theories of the 20th Century. until the present time will be conducted.

The investigation is framed in two specific European post-industrial heritage areas: Poblenou in Barcelona and Hackney Wick in London where a new global recovery strategy based on the interaction between the absences and the presences of their intangible values with the urban and social context will be proposed.

In addition this PhD intends to collaborate to research in heritage preservation through the mapping and design as methodological tools and to provide recommendations and information to neighbourhood associations, policymakers, urban planners and other stakeholders involved in the current development of the London Legacy local masterplan in Hackney Wick and the Eix Pere IV masterplan in Poblenou.