Irene Brisson is an architectural scholar and designer invested in the study and implementation of more inclusive and equitable design practices. They center historically marginalized narratives of architecture and building practices in Haiti and the greater Caribbean. 

As an assistant professor of architecture at Louisiana State University, Irene teaches courses in design, research methodology, critical theory, and Afro-Caribbean architecture.

Their research on practices of communication in the design of Haitian residential architecture is based in ethnographic fieldwork with contractors, architects, and residents. Considering speech, gesture, drawing, and building as inclusive categories of communication, they examine how design interactions vary in complex relationships of class, education, language, race, and nationality to reproduce and challenge the status quo.
Irene’s other on-going research interests include the intersections of the rhetorical and representational values of homes in popular culture, choreography in relationship to the built environment, community-based visual ethnography, and the politics of inclusion of people with marginalized gender, racial, and disabled identities in the built environment.

They hold a B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an M.Arch from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Preservation & Planning, and a PhD in Architecture from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Previously, Irene has taught at Bowling Green State University and Parsons the New School for Design.

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Recent Publications

Tracing a Plan in Kreyòl

Writer and literary critic Édouard Glissant described creolization as an open process with unfixed outcomes, characterized by a dialectic between oral and written discourses. Kreyòl architecture, like that of a house in Leyogàn, results from such a dialectic process. In the narrative to follow, dialogue and images are transmitted through the hand-drawn plan into a Kreyòl architecture resultant from transnational encounters of people, technology, and media. 

Of Migration, CCA ︎︎

Damage & Repair: Imagining collective dwelling in rural Haiti

In 1994 the Haitian urbanism research group Centre de recherches urbaines-travaux(CRUT) visualized a collective form to resist the oppressive structures of a neoliberal world order. The Workers Repatriation Center of Haiti (WRCH) proposed by CRUT centered the communal relationships between people and homeland, which are a profound aspect of Haitian identity demonstrated in the history of the lakou system.

Thresholds Journal ︎︎


Recent Events

February 5, 2020:
Dismantling Functioning Definitions of an Architect + Planner
(speaker)

Kicking off Black History Month activities, NOMAS, DEI, and UPSA at Taubman College have organized a presentation and discussion about the historic exclusion of Black architects and urban planners from visibility in our professions. What are new and more inclusive definitions of practice that will accommodate greater diversity in architecture and planning?

UMICH NOMAS︎︎
February 1, 2020:
Interlude | Conversation with Saskia Sassen, Utopia vs. the City P+ARG Biennial Conference 
(facilitator)

Eric Bettis (Urban Planning) and Irene Brisson (Architecture) facilitated a roundtable conversation with Planning & Architecture Research Group conference keynote speaker, Saskia Sassen, and conference participants about emergent themes and questions.

P+ARG Conference ︎︎