Emily Abruzzo & Gerald Bodziak: “Recent Work”

Emily Abruzzo & Gerald Bodziak: “Recent Work”


MOLLY HUNKER: Hello? Can you guys hear me? So, we’re going to get started. Thank you all so much for joining us. It’s my real pleasure tonight to introduce
our speakers Emily Abruzzo and Gerald Bodziak Emily and Gerald started their office Abruzzo
Bodziak Architecture or ABA during the economic recession of 2008. Emily received bachelor of arts from Yale
and master from Princeton and Gerald also MR from Princeton. They graduated in the early two thousands
and worked for several offices thereafter, the decision came at a time when the environment
was suffering. During the time architects were faced with
the challenge of going corporate or going off on their own, a few other choices, but
truly not that many. What emerged during this time was a population
of architects and designers who chose to start business on scrappy entrepreneurialism. ABA was forced to forge, speculate and scrounge
to make a name for themselves. Reworking of familiar forms has allowed ABA
to connect to a wide audience and cultivate one. They combine reinvention with (INAUDIBLE)
of detail in order to delight architects and non architects alike. While their interest with mock up and detail
is interested through product of many scales, including furniture design, mock up, (INAUDIBLE)
civic projects ranging from installations to San Francisco Ballet, AIA New York, projects
for the New York Police Department and Public Library. Given their interest in subject of public
engagement. Offices included in New York production design
excellence program, partners with creative professionals in order to enable design of
public buildings that strengthen economic livelihood, and create jobs. ABA has received numerous awards, including
lead architecture and designers from architecture of New York. CURBS ground breaker award and Arnold Brunner
grant. They have been featured in many publications,
pin up, among others. Their work has been exhibited from many places. We are thrilled to have Emily and Gerald at
Syracuse this semester. We’re looking forward to hearing more about
their work. Please join me and welcoming Emily and Gerald. (Applause)
EMILY ABRUZZO: Thank you for inviting us here this semester (INAUDIBLE). We’re going to present a series of projects
we have worked on recently, and some that are still in process. We’ll start with (INAUDIBLE). A lot of exhibition design. We feel like it’s a place to start (INAUDIBLE). This project we did last summer for store
front architects. Located at the corner of (INAUDIBLE) and lay
face yet. It’s a site that runs hundred feet long, six
feet wide on the short end and 20 feet wide on the long end. You might know the gallery because it has
a famous facade sign in the early 90s where the facade rotates and opens up to the sidewalk. GERALD BODZIAK: Supposedly it was temporary
facade, but it’s steel. EMILY ABRUZZO: It’s a great gallery. We were asked to do a design for an exhibit
that would accompany the New York architecture book fair, which is companied by a storefront
a few years prior. They were starting to think about what architecture
books have come to light in the last 35 years. They initiated a global search. They asked architects, academics, all kinds
of people, curators, to nominate books. There was supposed to be a jury that would
take those books and boil them down to a hundred books. What happened is the jury refused to vote. The problem is how could you pick only a hundred
books. The idea was really to think about a few books
didn’t make sense. The exhibit went from featuring a hundred
books to all the books nominated by people could be exhibited and would have (INAUDIBLE)
to go along with the title of the exhibit. Thinking about the books that you like as
a professional. We started with the idea of books on a shelf. We started to think about what does it mean
to codify books into an environment that they are part of, or codify them into a collection
that would differentiate books when they arrived. We started thinking about book covers, putting
them into collections. But also book covers to focus on what’s inside
of the book. Content. GERALD BODZIAK: I think this idea didn’t go
over well, hide the actual covers, tried to sell it as you can’t judge a book by it’s
cover. But it didn’t go over well. EMILY ABRUZZO: We did do covers. We found out if you use a bookend and put
a book around it, wouldn’t stand up, unless it’s a really tall lofty book. But that’s okay. That’s how the design unfolded. We designed a series of what we called bookmarks
(INAUDIBLE) native metal. GERALD BODZIAK: We would route it this was
also because, actually most of the books were really fine. (INAUDIBLE) also sort of open fair galleries,
(INAUDIBLE). EMILY ABRUZZO: Place holder for the nominated
books. Also once the other books came in, they would
hold up those as well. Design of the exhibit in a larger scale. Idea here is a stack, shelves, with the door
themselves. (INAUDIBLE) (please speak into microphone). So that when the doors open, the shelves would
extend. (INAUDIBLE) for different events as they switched
around. (INAUDIBLE). Created idea of book shelve that’s too small. We argued that this created, simply a sidewalk
library, where the reading room is outside. (INAUDIBLE)
Few slides to show you how the space inside changed with the advent of the doors. And also light vision, and (INAUDIBLE) (INAUDIBLE)
period of objects we’re going to show. Walls, (INAUDIBLE) thought the exhibit in
the area where books (INAUDIBLE) literally made of (INAUDIBLE) that could be used to
act as (INAUDIBLE) All the lighting for the exhibit was controlled
(INAUDIBLE) style. (INAUDIBLE) or at night. You see there (INAUDIBLE) collection over
the time of the exhibit. GERALD BODZIAK: Okay. Next project, also an exhibition. This one is architect’s newspaper. It’s a publication that I don’t know, they
have a website. Some how they got involved with a trade show
to have a booth mainly to show periodicals. But the booth size they had to rent, they
had a surplus of space and wanted to do something with it. They came up with idea of seven new architecture
firms in Brooklyn. This Brooklyn exchange (INAUDIBLE).>>(INAUDIBLE). GERALD BODZIAK: It’s a weird (INAUDIBLE) for
architects. This is actually not the trade show. Usually it’s trying to sell a product, a window,
a door. We ask what is the actual category that architects
are dealing in. This is a way to homogenize into a single
cover. (INAUDIBLE) we convinced everyone that they
should pivot all their (INAUDIBLE) and people would flip through them. (INAUDIBLE) so this is actually what we designed. It was basically a drafting desk. (INAUDIBLE) which was really monolithically
long. Architect newspaper at a side (INAUDIBLE)
People protested. We told them that they could (INAUDIBLE)
Couple of prints. Some people’s drawings on table. Other side, with (INAUDIBLE) I don’t know
what they were arguing about. It seemed really (INAUDIBLE)
EMILY ABRUZZO: They were comparing details, so it was really great. Last exhibit we’ll show you is a project we
did with center for architecture. This is an exhibit for theory and design around
the topic of active design. Anti obesity measure which encourages people
to be active in buildings and urban environment. So, I don’t know if you’re familiar with AIA
New York. This is a sidewalk gallery on La Guardia place. On the right hand side of the screen is sidewalk. There were a few rules we had to abide by. (INAUDIBLE) occupy the gallery itself. (INAUDIBLE) various activities. Second was we could make it out of anything
we want. GERALD BODZIAK: (INAUDIBLE). EMILY ABRUZZO: Yeah. And third was to think of it as (INAUDIBLE). We took them at their word for printed materials. And we designed printed materials that laid
across the wall, but also. GERALD BODZIAK: (INAUDIBLE). EMILY ABRUZZO: It’s a harder aspect. Yeah. That can be printed in different colors. This is different gradient that traces around
the entire gallery. DIY but not (INAUDIBLE) and… GERALD BODZIAK: I think there was this thing,
the exhibition group, here we wanted to resist that idea (INAUDIBLE) (INAUDIBLE) see it all
on the design fold as the person was walking around. EMILY ABRUZZO: Also a lot of content (INAUDIBLE)
content is also on scale of eleven by 17, easily reducible. You have to essentially get very close to
the material to site and look throughout the entire gallery (INAUDIBLE) according to dominant
colors of the project. We also used (INAUDIBLE) as a way to incorporate
a hyper graphic, hanging at a front as signage for the exhibit and also had (INAUDIBLE) started
to come through in a color cast, but you could still read the words. GERALD BODZIAK: (INAUDIBLE) choose the spread. EMILY ABRUZZO: Yeah, I like that. You can see here the signage from the outside. Below the signage, we had a little gallery
installed a table, essentially coffee table with the center lifted (INAUDIBLE). GERALD BODZIAK: I guess shifting gears a little
bit, this is which was supposed to be done, it’s going to be next week. This is a (INAUDIBLE) any way, this is their
first US store. So design for the intention was clothing store,
but also make it US execution (INAUDIBLE) a lot of product that’s technically not for
sale at the store. This is Tribeca, (INAUDIBLE) building (INAUDIBLE). EMILY ABRUZZO: That was on the Underground
Railroad, that building. GERALD BODZIAK:. Right. This is here. Whole neighborhood is landmarked facade, (INAUDIBLE)
it’s falling apart. Can’t put any signage, can’t touch the lights. This is our space. If you look at the context of the retail spaces
around Tribeca, (INAUDIBLE) any way, the spaces all have this really high ceiling, usually
they would have (INAUDIBLE) have cat walks or (INAUDIBLE). Then also looking at the client’s work, the
guy whose company it is, his name is (INAUDIBLE) Blackman, he codified, I guess, all of the
camouflage patterns. He wrote a book, EDM, constructed materials. I think now (INAUDIBLE) definitely a military
inspired motif. They understood straight up military is too
much, so they did instead this (INAUDIBLE). EMILY ABRUZZO: These are two pages from their
campaign, two pages of plaits with art. It takes the edge off the military origin
and updates the clothing. GERALD BODZIAK: We looked a lot at (INAUDIBLE)
also military equipment, hence this is actually a (INAUDIBLE). So the space itself is (INAUDIBLE) it does
have a (INAUDIBLE) budget was quite tight. We didn’t touch the (INAUDIBLE) we came up
with an idea to basically paint everything there white, then we would treat this as an
object, furniture installation plugged into the space that would become one. EMILY ABRUZZO: Building within building. GERALD BODZIAK: Right. This is an early rendering (INAUDIBLE) just
a series of (INAUDIBLE) that can be programmed (INAUDIBLE) clothes hanging or displayed. Kind of hard to read here, but this is kind
of outside of the structure. In the back is also. You would pass into the structure. At one point you would pass from there into
a staircase. (INAUDIBLE) also rendering of the pace beyond. We came up with this idea that has our inventory
is (INAUDIBLE) on displaying versus storing, we were surprised by (INAUDIBLE). Idea that it shut off the store for storage. EMILY ABRUZZO: Or even use it as part of the
marketing. GERALD BODZIAK: Yeah. (INAUDIBLE) then a whole other subject. Duality of the art as well. Where sometimes there are literal versus actual
(INAUDIBLE) this is (INAUDIBLE). On this side we have a mirror, this side we
have another mirror, you see the back/front. Few photos. Stairs. EMILY ABRUZZO: Again, do you believe hanging. GERALD BODZIAK: (INAUDIBLE).>>Recently. So, thinking about structure and looking at
something that’s really defined our work for some time, this was an earlier work commissioned
by a couple in Michigan for a house in Irish hills, which is an area that has a lot of
small farms. So (INAUDIBLE) idea was the house that takes
the shape of the barn. We started looking at framing, corners, also
some of the sort of strangeness of the (INAUDIBLE) barn’s often have and the beautiful (INAUDIBLE)
of the grounds. So that became a material palette that we
used. (INAUDIBLE)
Down slope near the road. (INAUDIBLE)
(Audio too low to hear) Above, um, this enables us to lift (INAUDIBLE)
Out to the wooded area behind. And then have (INAUDIBLE). (INAUDIBLE)
How we accommodate things like windows, because barns don’t really have windows (INAUDIBLE)
and taking the the, sort of, side of the building that (INAUDIBLE) structure of that. GERALD BODZIAK: So this is, actually, I think
our first project ever. It was an art theme put out by the city of
Sumerville (INAUDIBLE) interventions across the city, and those interventions would spur
redevelopment. This was for a (INAUDIBLE). Call was for replacement for a store called
(INAUDIBLE) on top of a firehouse. This firehouse, it’s no longer a firehouse. (INAUDIBLE) I don’t know. Any way, so this is (INAUDIBLE) concerts,
and farmer’s markets and one of the (INAUDIBLE) no one remembers when or how (INAUDIBLE). This is what it looks like, the building. EMILY ABRUZZO: Listen we discovered that when
you drive through summer villi there are several buildings that (INAUDIBLE) maybe a mystery
worth looking into. GERALD BODZIAK: Right. (INAUDIBLE) and budget was quite (INAUDIBLE)
we didn’t really question the fact that (INAUDIBLE) structurally (INAUDIBLE) even the original. That kind of (INAUDIBLE) thing as bit on the
project. Any way, this is a drawing. (INAUDIBLE) we tried many different ideas. We kept going back to the idea that (INAUDIBLE)
so we thought if we could draw another perspective. We started looking up (INAUDIBLE) and I don’t
know if you guys know about structures (INAUDIBLE) pump house. We knew there was some issue with the (INAUDIBLE)
Polished the (INAUDIBLE) then the idea (INAUDIBLE) right there. (INAUDIBLE) program lighting. (INAUDIBLE)
EMILY ABRUZZO: Do you have the graphic? This is a project that we’re currently working
on that has some relationship to the beacon we showed you, at least in terms of technology. This is a branch library for New York public
library in the Bronx. (INAUDIBLE) the site is located at the corner
of (INAUDIBLE) building itself is currently a library. You might not know it’s a library. For those of you who might not know, it’s
referred to in New York as a Lindsay Voss, in late 70s, this was considered less safe
than it was now. (INAUDIBLE) and not very friendly (INAUDIBLE)
this is a library that’s well used by some of the neighborhood, but also a library that
some of the neighborhood doesn’t even know it’s a library. GERALD BODZIAK: I think one day we were out
here (INAUDIBLE) we were going to be building a library (INAUDIBLE). EMILY ABRUZZO: For his whole life, I think. We begin this project which is a full renovation,
both interior and exterior. We began thinking about what it means to be
in the space (INAUDIBLE) thinking about spaces like this where you might be outside and be
able to to see an entire occupied space inside. (INAUDIBLE) this is the sidewalk, and here
are a very large window that allows us to see into a very deep and very large reading
room. The reading room is very simply (INAUDIBLE)
that could be shelving, computers, things like that, door ways facing beyond. We also thought about identity a lot. Thinking through what is the identity of the
library in the city (INAUDIBLE) in general there’s an idea that there’s an architectural
consistency granted. We thought about architectural materials and
detailing in combination with that idea of a window. And this is the progress of it to what we’re
working with. Thinking about texture, color, scale, graphic
branding to create an understanding of what this space is, and also creating that view
so you could see what’s happening inside. From the inside we thought about what does
it feel like to be in a library. A lot of libraries (INAUDIBLE) have arched
windows. I was recently in a very rural place that
had almost no architecture character, (INAUDIBLE). We don’t necessarily have opportunity to put
windows around our entire interior because we have a (INAUDIBLE) site. (INAUDIBLE) but we have opportunity (INAUDIBLE)
profile that essentially (INAUDIBLE) top shelve skylight. Then the last project that I think, you know,
that was important for us to add identity to (INAUDIBLE) timing of the reading larges
that are found in many libraries around the world (INAUDIBLE) custom lamps (INAUDIBLE). So, the last three projects we want to show
you are more abstract projects. They are projects that explore architecture
through ideas of line and form. This is a project we out fitted (INAUDIBLE)
before we worked with (INAUDIBLE) it’s an installation (INAUDIBLE) for (INAUDIBLE) space. You see here it’s actually from the side,
from the right (INAUDIBLE) gallery. It’s a three story space with a beam in the
middle. The top area is essentially our site. Knowing we had to do things lightweight, something
lightweight, but also perspective, we started thinking about string or rope and somethings
that could be stretch and had lightweight. (INAUDIBLE) idea being that looking through,
between, we could et create some kind of portal. The center also wanted us to make it light
up so it would be something that would attract people on the La Guardia highway. (INAUDIBLE) it’s a (INAUDIBLE) used for Halloween
costumes. If you have ever been to burning man, it’s
a very popular product at burning man. It’s low temperature, easy to manipulate. We found ut it’s somewhat expensive. Using it for the entire exhibit didn’t make
sense. (INAUDIBLE) we couldn’t predict how (INAUDIBLE)
it would be. We had to add a second (INAUDIBLE) added Kevlar
rope that had predictable stretch in union with the other material to predict how the
structure would work. Here’s an installation picture (INAUDIBLE)
we like to show people because (INAUDIBLE) night before the exhibit was done. We hung all the ropes at the top and threaded
the luminescent wire. (INAUDIBLE) it worked. What happened is we covered (INAUDIBLE) with
the project. The structure itself changed, but it made
it so the rope took precedence, and that’s what it would take the form of. It would go away with night. During the night (INAUDIBLE) inverting the
form. The wire also gave off a glow, especially
pleasing color contrast. You could see from below (INAUDIBLE). Across the street (INAUDIBLE). GERALD BODZIAK: I always have to say this
because I feel guilty about it. The wire (INAUDIBLE) wire actually has a (INAUDIBLE). EMILY ABRUZZO: Phosphorous. GERALD BODZIAK: (INAUDIBLE) we had kind of
(INAUDIBLE). EMILY ABRUZZO: Repair. GERALD BODZIAK: Yeah. EMILY ABRUZZO: I think that’s what happens
with experiments. GERALD BODZIAK: Okay. Similar to the previous project (INAUDIBLE). They have a beam, I think this was (INAUDIBLE). EMILY ABRUZZO: Reflection. GERALD BODZIAK: This is where San Francisco
ballet is. Memorial. Walk through these doors. It’s pretty amazingly preserved space. They told us a lot like their earlier project,
we could do anything we want, as long as we didn’t put anything on the floor and we couldn’t
attach anything to the ceiling. We had no idea what to do. This is before we had the beam to work with. We looked at (INAUDIBLE) quite literally just
reflected the dome to create a kind of belly space. We represented that as (INAUDIBLE) also no
budget for this exhibit. We got really affordable mylar strip. Wondering how we attached it to the ceiling,
there was. EMILY ABRUZZO: (INAUDIBLE). GERALD BODZIAK: We ended up doing strips with
attached two by fours (INAUDIBLE). What happened is people would come off the
street. (INAUDIBLE) because the mylar is so thin (INAUDIBLE)
reflective (INAUDIBLE). EMILY ABRUZZO: This is the last sort of project. Couple of years ago we were asked by a group
of curators who put together a project called five five provocative collaborations. GERALD BODZIAK: (INAUDIBLE). EMILY ABRUZZO: Participant provocations. 12 inches by 12 inches that would some how
comment on the (INAUDIBLE) very abstract idea. This is the NSA (INAUDIBLE) black box. We also know that the NSA exists in (INAUDIBLE)
it’s anonymous series of warehouses across suburbia in the US, and extending reach to
places like our pocket. (INAUDIBLE) we wanted to think about this
question of anonymity and (INAUDIBLE) and putting that into a tiny object. We created essentially five pieces of solid
mirror and one piece of two way mirror on the top. (INAUDIBLE) calibrated to your phone’s camera
on each side. We filled the box a model (INAUDIBLE) using
essentially that method. Giving you what we call add back door to this
universe that can’t really be seen by the eye. (INAUDIBLE) very aeronautical edge. After we produced this project, we had opportunity
to do installation at Rhode Island School of Design. Because we enjoy pain, we made (INAUDIBLE)
and filled them with different kinds of grids, placing boxes on each their own pedestal,
also with the same kind of view port. Also lighting in the gallery (INAUDIBLE) to
the top. That’s the one way mirror. (INAUDIBLE) singular object. When you look on the inside, you get the reflection. Exhibit itself played with idea of repetition
and perspective. (INAUDIBLE). Thinking about more complex bridging, bridged
spaces. Stacking of sticks, arch ways. Planar floors, but also made funnels. I think this was plus shaped form. Pyramid. More stacking. And then getting to some more complex forms
that would create (INAUDIBLE) tables. Okay. Thank you. (Applause)
Yup? Yup. MOLLY HUNKER: Okay. So Emily and Gerald are happy to take some
questions if there are some. (INAUDIBLE)
EMILY ABRUZZO: There are essentially a series of strips at different lengths we used Ryan
no model to calculate lengths ahead of time and made a schedule of lengths, and they were
stapled to two by fours, and two by fours were placed on top of the cornice and held
in place with sandbags. You can’t see them. Wait. But that photograph is good. Oh yeah. GERALD BODZIAK: (INAUDIBLE). EMILY ABRUZZO: Like this photograph here. GERALD BODZIAK: Yeah. (INAUDIBLE) so the chair comes up and it sits
essentially on top (INAUDIBLE).>>And it’s so high you can’t see it. (INAUDIBLE) definitely a (INAUDIBLE). Hopefully the most (INAUDIBLE) raises an interesting
question. (INAUDIBLE) about designer’s work. Stephen (INAUDIBLE) very design sense (INAUDIBLE)
somebody else’s work. How do you merge that (INAUDIBLE) previous
architects (INAUDIBLE)? EMILY ABRUZZO: I think that’s an excellent
question. I think that we’re always there is context
for every project. And sometimes that context is historical,
you know, vernacular, you know, more anonymous architecture, and sometimes that context is
not architectural, and sometimes that context is higher (INAUDIBLE). I think the question is really the same in
all those conditions, which is (INAUDIBLE) how do you innovate with that. That’s really the question for us. For that project, the innovation is adding
six pieces inside, which elongates what they have done. If you are interested in storefront, there’s
interesting things people have done with it. It’s its own really interesting study of how
people work with the work of others. In that moment, you are really lucky to have
that. It’s less of a challenge and more of a wondrous
gift. GERALD BODZIAK: (INAUDIBLE). EMILY ABRUZZO: The bar is really high. MOLLY HUNKER: What else? Other questions? (INAUDIBLE)
GERALD BODZIAK: (INAUDIBLE). EMILY ABRUZZO: This project actually was planned
over two or 3 months as our only project we worked on for the entire time, with the staff. It was gratuitous that we had the time
to do that. We ended up doing many, many tests, including
building a third of it. We built, like, one whole bay in our office. That’s where we were testing like those wires. We were testing all the joinery. I don’t know if you could see in this image,
right here, these are brass rings, closed brass rings which don’t really exist in hardware,
but exist in jewelry. These are from metal shop that is usually
serve jewelers. All of the testing we did basically with a
mock up in our office. GERALD BODZIAK: (INAUDIBLE) we ended up complicating
(INAUDIBLE). EMILY ABRUZZO: All of these brass rings had
to go up after the structure because of not being able to take stretch. We had to install it and mark up all the points,
take it down, connect all the rings. GERALD BODZIAK: We did have (INAUDIBLE). EMILY ABRUZZO: But they (INAUDIBLE). GERALD BODZIAK: Yeah. EMILY ABRUZZO: It
was a lot of trial and error (INAUDIBLE) we had to install
using guinea lift. (INAUDIBLE) everything was up in the air. You could see that. Everything. GERALD BODZIAK: (INAUDIBLE) (LAUGHING) up
in the air. EMILY ABRUZZO: They were pretty good. MOLLY HUNKER: Any other questions? Okay. Thank you so much. EMILY ABRUZZO: Thank you. GERALD BODZIAK: Thank you.

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