RMIT Design Hub Gallery presents a new architect-curated exhibition exploring the exploring the contribution of architects, designers and planners in densely-inhabited mega-cities, particularly in Asia. 

Super Tight looks at what it means to live and work closely, not only through formal or spatial qualities, but through the sound and feel of closeness. It urges us to consider what Australia can learn from our neighbours, in what can be seen as a view into the future of our own evergrowing cities. 

Super Tight has been curated by architects Graham Crist (RMIT Architecture/Antarctica Office), John Doyle (RMIT Architecture/NAAU) and renowned Japanese architect Yoshiharu Tsukamoto (Atelier Bow-Wow/Tokyo Institute of Technology). The exhibition features contributions from practitioners working throughout Asia, with a major, original installation by Taishin Shiozaki of Shiozaki Laboratory.

“‘Super tight’ describes the small, intense, robust and hyper-condensed spaces that emerge as a by-product of extreme levels of urban density,” says Dr Crist.

“The by-product of unprecedented metropolitan convergence is the emergence of new urbanisms and new architectures, new models for living and making culture.” 

Dr Doyle explains the exhibition’s focus on Asia and the contribution of its Japanese co-curators.

“More than half the world lives in cities, more than half the world lives in Asia, more than half of the world’s megacities are in Asia. Asian cities are therefore key in examining new ways of being densely urbanised,” he says.

“Working with Yoshiharu Tsukamoto on Super Tight has been a chance to extend the research Atelier Bow-Wow is known for, such as their investigation into ‘architectural behaviour,’ best represented through what they described as ‘pet architecture’ – very small buildings squeezed into leftover urban spaces in the city. They create micro public spaces that serve as platforms for social interaction and new urban behaviours.”

Super Tight’s exhibition design will feature a series of custom-built installations - a Tight Hem and Tight Bar - that will double as sites for regular talks and workshops throughout the exhibition. Imagery and video will be projected onto the wall of the gallery to create the Tight Cinema, which will feature video works and documentary footage drawn from the practices of over 15 architects, designers and artists working throughout the Asia–Pacific region.

A second gallery space will feature the installation “Tight Density, Tight Familiarity, Overlapping City” by Shiozaki Laboratory. This installation includes architectural drawings and films, set within a cardboard laneway spanning and compressing the length of the gallery space.

“Australians cities are struggling with the phenomena of high-density living and smaller homes,” says Crist.

“We might not yet have the same social and economic issues that have led to the generation of super dense mega-cities in Asia but we are starting to understand that dense occupation can lead to cultural tightness and that this can be valuable, delightful and difficult all at the same time.”

The exhibition is open until Saturday 21 September, 2019. 

Photography by Tobias Titz