The Young Alumni Forum celebrates the work of recent graduates across multiple trajectories within the various disciplines taught in the SOA. It offers current students a window into how recent graduates have negotiated their paths deeper into disciplinary accomplishment. This year, we have invited notable alumni Bang Dang, Jesse Hager, and Signe Smith to speak.
BIO: Bang Dang
Bang has called Dallas his home since he was five years old, and having a Chinese background, has a unique, Eastern/Western take on architecture. The natural inclination to be rational, subtle, and minimal is countered by the urge to be instinctive, brave, and free. Bang’s focus is making architecture that is abstract in its homage to Texas regionalism and subtle in its attempt to be inventive. Bang’s experience in the field is broad and varied, covering architecture of all types and scales.Bang holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Architecture from the University of Texas at Arlington, where he was an Adjunct Professorfor six years. Bang’s thesis for his graduate degree was on the design and marketability of small, semi-urban, sustainable, prototype dwellings. Bang then went on to teach a variety of design studios including a two semester design/build studio where students design and construct prototype micro houses.Bang is a founding partner, withRizi Faruqui, of the award winning, modernpractice FAR + DANG. The work of the 7-year old firm is varied in typology and scale but all the projects have a rigorous focus on making modern spaces via a focus on context, structure, and materiality. A good portion of the firm’s current work involves making smaller, speculative dwellings within the East Dallas neighborhoods, but a number of interesting commercial and institutional projects are also in the design stage. A rigorous and proactive research agenda and a passion for exploring ideas of space and lifestyle are the foundations of the firm’s design process
BIO: Jesse Hager
Licensed in May of 2010, Jesse has been working since he was 18 in the Architecture and Construction fields. He was named the 2017 Ben Brewer Award Recipient for Young Architect of the year by AIA Houston as well as the granted the 2017 Award for Young Professional Achievement in Honor of William W. Caudill FAIA by the Texas Society of Architects. He has been involved in the design of everything from affordable housing, hospitals, luxury residences, office buildings and a university campus in Saudi Arabia. With the belief that everyone deserves an Architect, he has pursued various avenues to deliver a quality project no matter the means. In India he assisted with the design and construction of a student dormitory, going as far as hand-tamping the rammed earth walls after hand mixing the soil and cement additives. Displaying a strong interest in sustainable strategies the campus in Saudi Arabia has achieved a LEED Platinum rating. Furthermore he has been active in various professional organizations, serving as past chair of the AIA Houston Small Firm Roundtable and currently serving on the TxA Publications Committee as well as the AIA Houston Board of Directors. Recently he was named to the Advisory Council for the University of Texas School of Architecture.
A native of Washington State, Jesse earned a dual bachelor's degree in Construction Management and Architecture from the University of Washington. Continuing his studies at the University of Texas at Austin he acquired a Master of Architecture degree and a cadre of professionals that he considers lucky to call friends. He has been an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Prairie View A&M University and is currently an Adjunct Professor at the University of Houston where he is also an Energy Fellow.
BIO: Signe Smith
Signe earned a Professional Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from the University of Texas at Austin in 1999. Signe holds a passion for both architecture and business. During her travels through Russia and Mexico in 1991 she developed an appreciation for the role of architecture as an active stage for daily life and social change. While traveling through Europe Signe developed an affinity for contemporary architecture and the role of precision in design. These experiences motivate her to bring high-quality design to a larger audience.
As a principal at smitharc architects, Signe focuses on Client communication, budgets, schedules, programming, design coordination, and construction administration. Her most important responsibilities are to ensure the Client’s needs are met and that the design is executed with accuracy and exceptional quality.
Signe is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and an accredited professional in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program (LEED AP.)