BORING BUILDINGS FREMANTLE’S FUTURE
Fremantle’s CBD is under serious threat of becoming the architectural mediocrity hub of Australia with most of the new development being well below acceptable standards for our historic city with its unique character.
On Wednesday we will again see the attempt by uncaring developers to get approval from the CoF Planning Commitee for a five storey bland concrete box at the Mills Records building at 18-22 Adelaide Street. The building is so awful that one has to wonder what standards some architects apply to their design and if they actually care about surrounding buildings, streetscapes and historic significance of place. This ugly and boring building proposal is for Kings Square, the heart of Fremantle, for heaven’s sake!
To the west of the proposed building is one of Kings Square’s most beautiful facades, but Fremantle planning and heritage officers have recommended that this rubbish should be approved.
Five storeys is too high for that location but it appears that when you set back the upper floors a metre or two you can get away with anything, although the excruciating architectural blandness should not be rewarded with discretionary additional height.
Fremantle is in a development boom, that I am very happy about, but we are well on the slippery downward slide of creating a very boring architectural CBD that does not compliment the visual delight of the historic west end. The “heritage of the future” buildings Council promised the community during the Planning Scheme Amendment 49 debate are nowhere to be seen.
Our elected members are so keen on development that they will approve just about everything no matter how ugly, boring, inappropriate and disrespectful to Freo’s history these buildings are, hence we get utter blandness in Pakenham Street, a rubbish building next to the Australia Hotel, a boring building on the former Spotlight site and a pretty mediocre Hilton Doubletree hotel development, to name just a few. (To be fair, Freo council did reject the building next to the Australia Hotel but it was approved by a State Government agency).
I strongly support development and change in the inner city but we need to insist on good quality development and creative design. The lame duck CoF Design Advisory Panel might as well be scrapped because they seem to have very little influence in reaching better design outcomes. Maybe it’s better to give building plans to a local Kindergarten and let the littlies decide what they like. We might get a much better aesthetic outcome than we get with the present useless DAP process.
The proposed Adelaide Street building is what I call Google design. You search for ‘five storey mediocrity’ and for a few dollars you can buy plans for it off the internet from someone somewhere in the world who has never been to Fremantle. The proposed building might look okay in a semi-industrial street in O’Connor but it has no place at historic Kings Square.
While W.A. has lost its Triple A rating Fremantle is well on the way of receiving Triple B status for Bloody Boring Buildings.
Stop the rot, stop the boring mediocre ugliness, and protect Freo’s unique beauty Fremantle Council!