With Fremantle progressing to a bigger and more modern city, we often hear from those who want development at any cost and at any height that embracing our heritage is detrimental to the future of our city. I believe the exact opposite is true and want to shout it out loud.
HERITAGE IS NOT BAD FOR PROGRESS, IT TEACHES US THAT THE PRICE OF PROGRESS IS BEAUTY!
The clock is ticking fast for the Fremantle Kings Square development, with Sirona Capital being quoted in the Fremantle Herald that they will soon be announcing who their major tenant(s) will be.
I checked out the Sirona info screen at Many 6160 today and the “Project Delivery Time” was November 2014, July 2015, September 2016 and December 2016. It would deliver over 30,000 sqm of prime office space, plus retail.
If all this goes to plan Freo will have received a massive CBD facelift by the end of 2016 that will hopefully revitalise the city and be a huge boost to retail. I know two years is a long time, but hang in there and don’t give up yet!
Read the article on ugly buildings in today’s West Australian by visual artist, urban planner and architect Malcolm Mackay. It is a good read that should be a wake up call to us all, especially in Fremantle and other older suburbs, that we don’t have to, and should not, accept modern buildings that lack elegance, class, and design excellence.
Mackay points out the stunning architecture at I’on in South Carolina, USA, and laments that Perth demolished so many of its beautiful old buildings.
We in Fremantle are fortunate to have retained many of our heritage buildings, thanks to the tireless efforts of the 44 year-old Fremantle Society and passionate individuals, but some of the new building proposals signed off by the City of Fremantle are just not up to scratch.
Fremantle does not need or want big bland and uninspiring concrete Lego boxes. We want great modern architecture that compliments our heritage buildings and that emphasises the very unique Freo lifestyle.
It is very important we stay alert and don’t let mediocrity creep in and that we accept ugliness under the guise of progress.
The former Matilda Bay Brewery site on Stirling Highway in North Fremantle has been sold for $ 36 million to a Chinese group, who intend to develop it into residential apartments.
The property is 2.9 hectares and the plot ratio would allow for 60,000 sqm of apartment-space there, with the probability of buildings between 4-8 storeys.
It’s obviously a prime Indian Ocean location with panoramic views from Scarborought to Fremantle port, and not far from the train station and busses on the doorstep, so no doubt it will be pretty popular, as long as traffic and train noise is controled with double-glazing, etc.
The City of Fremantle will be looking for a new Planning and Development Director, with the former one Philip St John moving to the City of Wanneroo.
It is probably one of the more challenging positions to take on in our city as planning is often very controversial.
Good luck at Wanneroo, Phil!
Local Government Minister Tony Simpson’s push for more consistent council by-laws is not necessarily a bad idea, as long as it is not something that will give State Government more, and local government less say.
Planning guidelines differ too much from council to council and are a nightmare for architects and developers, so they could be streamlined and made more consistent. An on-line planning process should also be accommodated rather than having to line up at the Fremantle City reception desk and hand over plans.
The reality State Government should not ignore and swipe aside as irrelevant, is that different suburbs have different needs, so individualism to protect those needs should be allowed. A heavy-handed, we know best what is good for you, approach by Tony Simpson would be counter productive and might upset local communities who want to protect the unique ambience of place. No doubt though the planning process and rules need to be more consistent, so let’s start there.
It is good to see the rapid progress of the former Fishermen’s Co-op Building at Fremantle Bathers Beach. It is a very welcome addition to the Fishing Boat Harbour area, and with the development of the Kelp Bar at Kidogo Arthouse the inner city beach will become a real tourist attraction, especially in summer when the Bathers Beach Sunset Food Markets will also be held on Saturdays.
The Sweetlips fish&chips shop is also getting a long-overdue interior make over, because while many consider it to have the best F&C, ambience was always lacking compared to the mayor players Cicerello’s and Kailis. Sweetlips are also applying for a liquor license so one can have a nice dry white with a piece of Barra.
Estimated opening of the new-look tavern, cafe, function centre, etc. is in October.
I had my hopes up high,when I noticed the closing down sale signs, that the Fremantle Spicers site development of the Pine Shop and carpark on the corner of William Street and the Henderson Street mall would precede the Kings Square development, but alas that is not to be. The present business plan only allows it to go ahead as Stage C, Stage A being the development of the MYER and Queensgate buildings, and stage B the new Civic Centre.
So what will happen then with the pine shop for the next 3-4 years, I wonder. Will we have another CBD building empty and make the street with the neglected Warders Cottages look even more derelict?
Even the High Street mall looks desolate with the empty shops, so hopefully there will be fast progress all over for Freo.
Talking about neglect, good to hear the National Trust has leased the old George Hotel building in East Fremantle. I don’t know yet whom to.
Most people hate TAGS, those spray painted initials by immature and disrespectful fools on buildings. TAGS are the ugly part of graffiti and cost local councils many thousands of dollars each year to clean up. Creative murals of graffiti art however are fantastic and should be encouraged.
To spray TAGS, and leaving one’s mark like a dog that urinates against trees, is illegal and incurs fines, but with recent development I wonder if we should still be worried about TAGS when SAT appears to be a far worse new form of urban vandalism.
SAT is state government initiated and sanctioned ‘graffiti’ that destroys cities and suburbs. SAT overrules local councils and makes planning departments obsolete. SAT erodes democracy because the community no longer has a say about the lifestyle they want to live and about the character of their cities. SAT dramatically and irreversibly changes the face and character of suburbs, with little regard for the wishes of the residents, ratepayers and elected council members.
Local government is invaded and pushed aside by the Western Australian State Government, who demands higher density living and forces unacceptable high-rise in low-rise city centres. Subiaco and Cottesloe will never have the same appeal again, once modern ugliness has destroyed the ambience there.
The proponents of high-rise keep assuring us that we will get iconic buildings, and that is true to some extent, because a building that totally dwarfs adjoining buildings and streets will be iconic in the sense that it sticks out like a huge eyesore. Sixteen storeys in the centre of Subi? You must be kidding!
The rationale for putting high-rise in the centres is that the buildings need to be close to public transport, shopping, etc, while these high buildings really should be built on the periphery so that they don’t destroy the uniqueness of many of the older suburbs. High-rise near the Mandurah railway station for example would make sense because, for all the wrong reasons, the station was not built in the city centre.
There is nothing wrong with higher density living. I believe it is essential because we can no longer afford the urban sprawl, as it has become far too expensive to build the infrastructure needed for it. But city planning has to be done with respect for the character of place. Sterile sameness of monotone concrete boxes is not the best solution to cope with increasing population. Far more sensitivity needs to be shown by our State Government that appears to be on an ego-driven high-rise crusade.
In Fremantle we can accommodate high-rise in the Knutsford Street. It’s a five-minute walk to public transport and an easy twenty-minute walk or five-minute bike ride into the city centre. Beaconsfield and Hilton and probably even White Gum Valley could also accommodate higher rise. Be warned though that there are a few elected members in Freo who can envisage an “iconic 21-storey building” on the Woolstores site.
People make cities. People create the ambience and lifestyle they want to live in, a place where they have a sense of belonging and where the community takes on ownership. By dismissing the wishes of the local communities, state government is making local governments irrelevant, because they can no longer decide what they want their cities to look like.
SAT is vandalism far worse than TAG and it needs to be stopped before it gets out of hand.
On my Roel’s Fremantle Photo Tours I try to raise participants’ awareness and the importance of the power of observation. Thinking outside the box and trying to find different ways of photographing something makes a big difference between getting a mediocre or good photos.
Reflections are an interesting example of that. How many people walk by this window of A Shed in Fremantle harbour each day without noticing the reflection of the Maritime Museum in it? It’s very different from taking a straight photo of the building and becomes quite painterly and arty.