Architects Far + Dang on Model Sustainability

Since architects Rizwan Faruqui and Bang Dang formed Far + Dang in 2011, they have designed and built some of the most striking homes in the Southwest and become known for their approach to sustainability. The firm is known for being untethered to a specific style and instead creating something in response to its specific location in time and space. The award-winning team stopped to discuss their approach to Urban Commons, sustainability and how it reflects the future of urban living.

Tell us a little bit about your work background; What project are you most proud of?  

We [Rizi Faruqui and Bang Dang] created the practice over 11 years ago and we have done projects of various sizes and types. The project we are most proud of is the project of creating the practice itself, which has become a melding of design and business, theory and practice, and research and academics. It has also been a practice that has seen many talented team members come through and contribute to all the work.

What projects in your career have led you to work on Urban Commons? 

We always see all our previous projects as a building point and a collection of critical experiences leading up to the next project at hand. Urban Commons is no different.

When it comes to design and sustainability, what do you find that inspires your design the most? 

We think using design to create smaller yet more efficient and elegant spaces is the most inspiring challenge for sustainable design.

How do you think Urban Commons represents the future of urban living? 

The idea of having smaller individual properties, but larger shared common areas with your neighbors is a really intelligent way to look at future urban lifestyles.

What acts of sustainability do you find important? 

It begins with building only what you need and being stewards of your home, land, and neighbors.

What intention or impact are you hoping comes from designing sustainable homes?  

We hope to always be a model for how the market perceives sustainable homes and to demonstrate that small, efficient, and well-designed homes are actually much more elegant and timeless than some of the larger and more energy-heavy homes.

What was an unusual challenge presented by this project and how did you overcome it? 

We are the first ones to break ground on the homes so we were the first ones to go through the building permitting process with the city and that is always a challenge, but we are getting better and better at it, as we now know what they are looking for in terms of this particular development.

What excited you the most about creating homes for Urban Commons?  

It is yet again another forward-looking development from Diane Cheatham. She has had such a successful history of developing modern projects in Dallas that it is always an honor to be able to participate. The idea of smaller and more affordable, detached, single-family homes is a prototype that continually needs re-evaluation and re-design and that challenge really excites us and aligns with our practice.

Do you have a specific design ethos and aesthetic that you feel the new home buyers will be excited about your work? 

Our design philosophy has always been to abstract the needs and desires of the users and the circumstances of the context in order to create an elegant architectural solution. For a speculative project, such as the homes in Urban Commons, we leverage our vast experience with previous multifamily projects in order to understand what the current modern home seeker is looking for. For this typology, we balance the line between specificity and flexibility.

What’s the number one thing you would like potential homeowners to know about your homes?  

They are designed first and foremost for the efficient and elegant use of space, inside and out.  If the configuration and proportion of space and the adjacencies and connectivity of various spaces are not appropriate, not much else matters.


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