This is the era of the metropolis.
By 2050, it is estimated that 70% of the world’s population will be urban with Australia’s major cities expected to nearly double in size. We don’t yet know where or how this growing population will be housed, as most of the buildings that will make up these cities have already been built. Furthermore, the city is occupied not just by buildings but also by the political and economical structures that dictate the use of those buildings, and which, at present, hinder sufficient and equitable access to housing.
It’s clear that the transformative ideas of our time will not be sweeping and grandiose visions. Unlike the great architects of the 20th Century – who wishfully imagined the city as a tabula rasa or accepted exile on the urban fringe – today’s creative thinkers must find space for an ever-growing populace within a finite and decaying urban fabric. The ideas that thrive in this context were small-scale, contingent and combinatory, operating at the margins or the in-between, within bureaucratic grey-zones or emerging economies.
Occupying the dramatic spaces of the Design Hub Gallery, this exhibition brought together local and international practitioners and showcased proposals for housing more with less, retrofitting, adapting and repurposing existing structures and environments. Ranging from the pragmatic to the utopian, the research-driven to the purely speculative, Occupied anticipated the critical design approaches, ideas and strategies of the imminent future.
Occupied also included Supershared – a shared loft-like space projecting out and into Design Hub Gallery. Supershared was open for students to book and occupy throughout the duration of the exhibition. The project speaks to the dexterity and responsiveness of the ‘shared economy’ and explores where the boundaries between private and public space are blurred.
Occupied exhibitors: 5th Studio, all(zone), Jacqui Alexander and SIBLING Architecture, Baracco + Wright Architects, Peter Bennetts, BKK Architects, Peter Elliott Architecture and Urban Design, Taylor Cullity Lethlean, Robert Owen, Sense Architecture and M.A.P, The Blink Fish (Giacomo Boeri and Matteo Grimaldi) with Stefano Boeri, Breathe Architecture, Atlanta Eke, Fake Industries Architectural Agonism and MAIO, Flores & Prats Architects, Andrés Jaque Architects / Office for Political Innovation, Ash Keating, Lacaton & Vassal and Frédéric Druot Architecture, Lyons Architecture, NMBW Architecture Studio, MvS Architects, Maddison Architects, Harrison and White, MAPA (Moline Axelsen: Public Art / Participatory Architecture), Callum Morton and Toby Reed, Otherothers, Jack Self, Spacemarket, TOMA, Vokes and Peters, Liam Young.
Occupied was curated by Grace Mortlock, David Neustein, Fleur Watson
Exhibition design by Otherothers
Graphic design by Sean Hogan, Trampoline
Program partnered with Open House Melbourne
Supported by Boom Studios
RMIT Design Hub Gallery team: Kate Rhodes, Fleur Watson, Nella Themelios, Erik North, Tim McLeod, Robert Jordan, Sam Fagan, Gavin Bell, Kate Riggs, Chloë Powell
Occupied opening night, images courtesy of Tobias Titz