As Emily abruzzo and Gerald Bodziak were mounting their installation Unmeasurability at the Rhode Island School of Design in 2015, a fire alarm prompted a security sweep of the gallery. Before escorting the architects out of the building, a guard walked to one of the construction’s five mirrored boxes, placed an eye to its arrowslit opening, and spent a few beats examining the infinitely reflecting grid within. The guard approved the project—the interior image is meant to symbolize the Internet’s seemingly endless expansion—with a simple “Oh, cool,” Abruzzo, 38, recalls with a smile. But the partners didn’t need verbal validation. “Someone immediately knew how to use our design and take delight from it,” she says.
As master of architecture students at Princeton, where they met in 2002, this moment did not seem inevitable. Coming of age alongside the rise of initiatives like the MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program or the Serpentine Pavilion, Bodziak, 39 says, “We felt a little disenfranchised by the culture of pop-ups.” Instead of speaking to an in-crowd of digitally savvy designers, “we wanted to get inside the heads of people who are not architects.” They earned their licenses and got married in 2008 and founded a Brooklyn-based studio the following year.