Freo's View


Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, heritage, notre dame university by freoview on October 14, 2016

I have thought long and hard for the last five days about the development proposal by Fremantle Notre Dame University for the vacant site on the corner of Cliff and High streets in the historic West End and have come to the conclusion that it is not acceptable.

Even with all my good will for Notre Dame and being a supporter of the uni I can’t approve of the bland building proposed that is unacceptably high in the West End Conservation Area, no matter how much I like the UNDA people.

WECA has a four storey limit and just because an incompetent council in the 80s approved the abomination and monstrosity at number 1 High Street-the former Tram building- does not mean we should now allow another five storey building next to it to cover up the ugliness.

If UNDA needs the extra height it needs to move to the east of the CBD, but what they propose can’t be tolerated in our beautiful West End. The design is unsympathetic to the streetscape and entire historic area and the five storey height would squeeze in the surrounding buildings and Roundhouse.

The sweet carrot dangled in front of the community by offering ground level activity with a theatre, function/exhibition space and a bar/cafe is not good enough to compromise and allow a fifth floor on this building, as that is well above the West End Conservation Area planning rules and should never be compromised, not even for my good friends at UNDA!

The only compromise I can see is for a redesigned facade with a set back fourth storey that is pulled back well from the corner of Cliff and High in a 45 degree angle to create a third level roof terrace. That would also create the opportunity of a vertical garden along the fourth floor and an outdoor function and recreation area on the third floor roof.

Notre Dame University have genuinely tried to be a good corporate citizen and be part of the Fremantle community, but they need and can do much better with this building. This is a fantastic opportunity to build a heritage of the future building in this prime location, and they should not let their architects get away with proposing something so average and boring. UNDA must insist on beauty and creativity.

It is a shame I can’t show you the artist drawing of the proposal but they are not yet available to the public.

An information session will be held on October 25 from 5.30-6pm at the City of Fremantle. Enter at the back up the stairs in front of Many 6100.

Roel Loopers

4 Responses

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  1. freoview said, on October 15, 2016 at 5:14 am

    We agree to disagree then David.


  2. David Jones said, on October 14, 2016 at 7:54 pm

    Hi Roel,

    I also have thought long and hard on this project and I completely disagree with your summation. It will be a magnificent addition to Fremantle. I was at the presentation and I love the modern architecture – with references to the surrounding buildings. The addition to the social/cultural life in the West End for the next century or more will be immeasurable. Not to mention the economic activation etc. etc….The five stories which John Dowson so violently reacted to completely disregards the fact that the street facade is the same height as the Tramways building (the ceiling height is of course lower in the new building than what was in this building as it was a tram depot). The bulk of the new apartments cannot be ignored and gives the University more scope to go slightly higher – this height will hide the hideous back end of these apartments. I will fight just as hard for this building as others will fight against it.


  3. robert said, on October 14, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    No 5 stories Period !

  4. Pete said, on October 14, 2016 at 9:03 am

    Couldn’t agree more ! ! !

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