Freo's View


Posted in architecture, buildings, city of fremantle, development by freoview on October 4, 2016



It was interesting to hear, while I was being interviewed on RTRFM radio yesterday morning about unacceptable mediocre development in the Fremantle inner city, that the 5-storey development proposal for 18-22 Adelaide Street has now become a significant development and that the period for submissions will therefore be extended.

It is beyond me that the City of Fremantle Planning Department believed that a five-storey development in the heart of the heritage city, opposite Freo’s oldest church St John’s and the historic Townhall could be of low significance to the community.

I was the first on Freo’s View on September 27 to report about this under the headline “Outrageous ugliness proposed for Kings Square.” I followed that up with an article two days later about the unacceptable mediocrity of most buildings proposed for the Fremantle CBD.

Interesting to note in that regard that the Fremantle Society claims the front page of the Fremantle Herald and two letters from FS to the CoF changed the mind of the City of Fremantle planners, when they should have given credit that it was Freo’s View who disclosed the plans first.

Because it is now a significant development we can now also show an artist drawing of the proposal that shows three storeys of set-back square boxes with balconies, above the heritage facade, that make no reference to the vertical lines of the neighbouring buildings and the general vertical character of heritage buildings in Fremantle. It’s not good enough and the plans should be withdrawn and redrawn!

If only all architects had the values of Perth architect Jean-mic Perrine who states on his company’s website that he tells his co-workers that they have a duty to create beauty and that mediocre buildings are not an option. Amen to that!

Roel Loopers


10 Responses

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  1. bigjulie said, on October 5, 2016 at 11:10 am

    you really should have triple glazing plus the kind that allows cleaning of the outer surface by rotation.

  2. Ed said, on October 5, 2016 at 10:34 am

    I have some sympathy with architects where the clients don’t respect the built form. The get in get out attitude of some builders means the apartment has to be done on the cheap.

    I would never buy an off plan apartment in WA. You can guarantee it won’t have double glazing, or insulation, or premium finishings.

  3. bigjulie said, on October 5, 2016 at 8:27 am

    One of the political aims of the Arts and Craft movement was “the preservation of the skilled artisan”. I doubt if the modern tradesman could replicate the ornamental detail of our old buildings.

  4. bigjulie said, on October 5, 2016 at 8:25 am

    The most logical place for high rise developments is ABOVE or next to the railway lines.

  5. freoview said, on October 4, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    Yes that is part of the problem that WA State Government has now realised, Paul. Most modern buildings get huge community criticism because they don’t respect existing character of place, especially in older suburbs. One also has to question why infill has to be done in the character suburbs while the only built 1 and 2 storey houses in the new suburbs and no high or medium density there.

    It needs stricter guidelines about design, material, respect for historic streetscapes, etc. That is what city and state planners get paid for I hope.


  6. freoishome said, on October 4, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    Edinburgh wanted modern buildings in their CBD where they have buildings measured in centuries! They managed to establish design criteria that led to modern buildings and facades, that blended with their stone heritage. One of the stand out criteria was it had to last more than, I think was 100 years, so the materials needed longevity, but there were other criteria, like setting some design standards for external doors and windows.
    I think establishing the criteria is something worthy of significant effort? Is that a role of a heritage officer?

  7. freoview said, on October 4, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    Inspired architects, developers willing to look at more than the triple bottom line and invest in the future of Fremantle. Strong and elegant design that helps create a streetscape and that celebrates the character of Fremantle with strong vertical lines as one can see all along High Street in the West End. Tall long windows, not square boxes, so make the verandas and windows higher, when building on a corner block have a round corner as in so many old buildings there as well.

    It’s not rocket science, just needs more eye for detail, class, and pride in wanting to build something special, not cheap and fast.


  8. freoview said, on October 4, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    Colonnade is now an old building Carl, built in the 80s I believe.

    Yes all the points you make; understated, elegant, contemporary and exquisite details.

    I don’t want mock heritage buildings, but one can create the vertical impression on very modern buildings and create a cohesive streetscape, not just a jumble of buildings, as is too often the case.


  9. Carl Payne said, on October 4, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    I’m not certain I want a Jean-mic Perrine Colonnade either thanks Roel. It just needs to be skilful; elegant; understated; well-detailed; contemporary. Easy to say; harder to do. We don’t want it to try to ape or copy the 19th C details; nor interpret them either. The hard bit for many architects, is in understanding and accepting that the well-loved 19th C streetscape is the most important element. Not their new endeavour.

  10. bigjulie said, on October 4, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    You are correct. Style dilution reduces the appeal of “old port”.
    What is the answer?

    I dislike concrete tilt-up buildings with a token entry veranda and the obligatory squiggle modern art motive. Do new styles even have a valid contribution in an old port?

    Should old Jerusalem town or a Venice waterway have 5 storey glass and aluminium adorned concrete tilt-ups? Probably not.

    Could a Council insist that a new building mirror a previous style of an existing Fremantle building of Federation, Victorian, Carpenter Gothic or Palladian architecture? What about an application for an Art Nouveau building or some copper or titanium Geary innovation? They may be interesting but will they add to “the old port” image. Hopefully the city fathers will not allow Fremantle to become another Kowloon.

    Perhaps Council could insist upon sandstone façade or even have a moving style guideline 2017 Art Deco, 2018 Edwardian, 2019 Art Nouveau, 2020 Copper?

    These riddles can only be solved through innovation, inspired architects and perhaps a vibrant Council wise artistic dictatorship.

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