Super Tight

Super Tight explores the culture of spatial tightness emerging in Asian cities and its creative potential. This immersive exhibition considers techniques for living closely, unpacking the delight and difficulty that arises from the dense occupation of large cities.

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

Super Tight describes the small, intense, robust and hyper-condensed spaces that emerge as a by-product of extreme levels of urban density. Tightness is both a consequence of density (but is not density itself) and a series of social, economic and cultural practices that have developed in response to the rapid growth and consolidation of cities. In Super Tight we ask: are big cities inherently tight, or is tightness something that transcends density and can emerge without vast populations? Is tightness desirable and how is the concept relevant to thinking about future Australian cities?

While urban density has been heavily explored, Super Tight looks specifically at the culture of tightness that has emerged in Asian cities over the past 30 years, and the role that designers play in the material and social behaviours of tightness. The exhibition examines the emergence of dense urban environments with an eye on the social, political, economic and regulatory issues that have led to the generation of present-day cities in Asia. It speculates on what causes density, how dense cities become tight, and how cultural tightness emerged. Super Tight looks at what it means to live and work closely, through not only formal or spatial qualities, but through the sounds, smells and feel of closeness. The exhibition questions social attitudes to tightness, both in Australia and abroad. More broadly it proposes the concept of the “super tight” as an approach to design and culture that is valuable.

Exhibition curators and designers: Graham Crist, RMIT School of Architecture and Urban Design; John Doyle, RMIT School of Architecture and Urban Design, Atelier Bow-Wow (Japan) and Taishin Shiozaki Laboratory (Japan).

Super Tight is presented by RMIT Design Hub Gallery and is supported by Open House Melbourne. Image courtesy of Taishin Shiozaki Laboratory, Tokyo.

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Important Details


RMIT Design Hub Gallery, Level 2, Building 100 Corner Victoria Streets and Swanston Streets, Carlton 3053 (entry via Victoria Street forecourt)

Time & Date

Friday 26 July – Saturday 21 September 2019

Gallery opening hours:
Tuesday – Friday, 10AM–5PM
Saturday, 12–5PM

Access: Fully accessible, All ages


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