NOTRE DAME MEDIOCRITY IS NOT VERY FREO
What frustrates me most about the proposal by Notre Dame University to build a mediocre and inappropriate building in Fremantle’s historic West End is that UNDA are not just greedy developers but educators with a great history department who should know better.
We can witness in Perth what awful damage inappropriate buildings of the 60s, 70s and 80s have done to that city and I often receive comments about that at the Roundhouse from overseas and interstate visitors who are impressed with Fremantle’s heritage but not impressed with the blandness of Perth.
A university does have even more responsibility to be a good corporate citizen than other organisations and that is why it is staggering that the UNDA management accepts such a bland building from its architects.
Universities need to be innovative and push boundaries because they are education our future generations of leaders, so it is not acceptable for them to just put a glass box in a heritage precinct because they need more space for their medical department.
Edith Cowan University in Joondalup builds creative modern buildings there, so why does Notre Dame believe that boring mediocrity is good enough for Freo’s most beautiful precinct?!
Many developers have no respect for the unique character of Fremantle, but I do understand for them it is all about the triple bottom line and that most don’t give a rat’s arse about the beauty of Freo as long as the dollar signs keep flashing and their bank accounts bulge, but that should be different for a university which has a much greater responsibility to the community than ordinary developers.
For those who missed this comment to my blog by renowned award-winning Perth architect Jean-mic Perrine, here it is again:
In an age of VIRTUAL everything, it is symptomatic of those who do not actually want the public to understand the true impact of a building to resort to an “artists impression” which is all this submission offered.
I have dealt with heritage buildings for over 25 years. I say the following for one purpose only and it is not to gloat: From the Commonwealth Bank and GPO redevelopments in Forrest Place to the Heritage award-winning projects of the Leederville Post Office and Box Building, City of Perth inaugural Heritage award winner for interpreting modernity in a historically sensitive manner. Of course I recently completed the celebrated Terrace Hotel in the city, revitalising one of Perth’s oldest residential buildings into a luxury hotel.
I say the above to be able to give context to what I say now.
The proposal by NDU is inappropriate, poorly conceived and disrespectful of a heritage precinct. What is sadder is that it has little original architectural merit and reminds me of the lazy days of the 70’s when this sort of sketch allowed monstrosity to mushroom in our historic precincts.