Irene Brisson

Irene Brisson

Assistant Professor

225-578-6885 | 218 Atkinson Hall

Architecture SB Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MArch Columbia University
PhD University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Irene Brisson is a scholar and designer of built environments invested in the cultivation of just and sustaining places for people. Their research and pedagogy centers historically marginalized narratives of building culture and designers in Haiti and the Afro-Caribbean diasporas of the Americas in pursuit of a radically expanded field of global architecture.   

Their current book project, Kreyòl Architecture: Design in dialogue in Haitian house building, theorizes Kreyòl architecture as a design process which has continuously emerged from the interlacing of liberatory, (neo)colonial, vernacular, industrial, and diasporic spatial practices and which exceeds any fixed historical creole style. Based on extended ethnographic research with architects, bòsmason, NGOs, and residents involved in housebuilding in Leyogàn, this work consider how intimate desires, global influences, and collective politics of domestic environments reproduce and challenge the status quo of building culture. A new research project focuses on the transnational linkages and parallels between building cultures, racial capitalism, and environmental risk in the greater Caribbean and Gulf Coast regions. 

Brisson’s research has been supported by the US Department of Education Fulbright-Hays program, the Institute for the Humanities and the Rackham Graduate School at the University of Michigan. Their dissertation received the Carter Manny Dissertation Writing Award from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.  

Recent publications based on their doctoral research include “Translating a Plan in Kreyòl” as part of the Canadian Centre for Architecture’s series Of Migrations and “Damage and Repair: Imagining Collective Dwelling in rural Haiti” in Thresholds (2020). Brisson co-edited and contributed to the AD Reader, Ground Rules for Humanitarian Design (2015) which explored the integration of culture, art, architecture, economy, ecology, health, and education.  

ARCH4700 Research Methods 
ARCH 5000 Option Studio