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Irene Brisson

Ph.D. Student in Architecture
Dissertation: Speaking, Gesturing, Drawing, Building: Relational Techniques of a Kreyòl Architecture

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 a doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan, Irene is completing a dissertation on practices of communication in the design of Haitian residential architecture through ethnographic fieldwork with contractors, architects, and residents. Considering speech, gesture, drawing, and building as inclusive categories of communication, she examines 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.

She holds a B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.Arch from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Preservation & Planning. Previously, Irene has taught at Bowling Green State University and Parsons the New School for Design. Their article “Damage & Repair: Imagining collective dwelling in rural Haiti” is forthcoming in Threshold 48: Kin (Spring 2020).

Selected Publications

  • Chun, Alice M. S, and Irene E. Brisson. Ground Rules for Humanitarian Design. West Sussex: Wiley, 2015.
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Housing, Community, and Economic Development
Land Use and Environmental Planning
Physical Planning and Design
Transportation Planning
Global and Comparative Planning