Freo's View


Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, notre dame university by freoview on March 3, 2017



In a rather petulant Thinking Allowed in the Fremantle Herald today Dean Fehlberg, a partner at MCDF Architects, who designed the mediocre proposal for the new Notre Dame University School of Nursing at 3 High Street claims Fremantle Council rejected the development because it was influenced by emotion and agitation.

Does Fehlberg mean with agitation the genuine concerns raised by Fremantle residents and the Fremantle Society in submissions to Council, and does he mean with emotion that we are very passionate about heritage protection in Fremantle?

Fehlberg shows a hint of arrogance and severe lack of self-criticism when he compares the height of the proposed UNDA building with the gorgeous National Hotel, Pearse Building, Orient Hotel and Fremantle Hotel. These are all buildings of outstanding Goldrush period architecture and can in no way be compared to the unimaginative, boring and mediocre design proposal for the historic West End of Fremantle by the MCDF Architects.

The architects are no doubts also aware that the criticism about the height of the proposed building is because the planning rules for the West End Conservation Area only allow for three-storey buildings with an option of a fourth storey if the architecture is outstanding, which it isn’t!

Architect Fehlberg also criticises the Slavin Architects designed MSC building in Cliff Street because “it is all glass and flowing curved lines of steel with no masonry at all and without any precedence in the West End.”

Indeed Mr Fehlberg, and that makes the MSC building so delightfully unique, inspiring, creative and heritage of the future architecture, while your team ignores the heritage significance and beauty of the West End by proposing a very bland design. It does not add to the architectural greatness of the West End, but the MSC building does.

Dean Fehlberg writes in the Herald that he was very disappointed with the Fremantle Council level of debate….and disrespect shown for the opinion of the State Heritage Office and City’s Design Advisory Committee.

What concerns the community and Fremantle Councillors more is the disrespect shown by MCDF Architects for the unique beauty and historic significance of the West End and that the architects believe their non-creative boredom is appropriate next to the stunning Lionel Samson building and opposite the beautiful Fremantle Hotel building and in Western Australia’s most beautiful street.

Harsh self-criticism is a great way forward to becoming excellent at what one does, not acknowledging one’s own limitations means accepting mediocrity.

Roel Loopers

6 Responses

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  1. Rob Fittock said, on March 4, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    ain’t architecture so very subjective….I wish UNDA all the very best

  2. Steve said, on March 3, 2017 at 8:43 pm

    Great rant, Roel! Spot on.

    I would be thoroughly embarrassed to have my name on that building. It looks so average it actually hurts to look at it. Hopefully it does a quick death and we never have to see it in real life. Shame on him for dissing the MSC building which is by far the best new building built in freo in years.

  3. Allen Graham said, on March 3, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    You know what else is bad about this is the fact that it was sanctioned by Notre Dame in the first place. This design should have been rejected by the University well before it got to this stage? Use the heritage and Council when it suits them and to hell to the town when it doesn’t!

  4. Paula Amaral said, on March 3, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    You are spot on about the mediocrity of the exterior design of the building. Anyway, beauty and ugliness both arouse emotion and agitation, so what does he expect? Even the colour scheme is yuck.
    I can’t believe the State Heritage Council approved it.

  5. Lionel said, on March 3, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    What a baby

  6. Colin Nichol said, on March 3, 2017 at 9:47 am

    It’s the question that constantly arises: Is the design good enough in itself and does it belong in the West End? Yes and No.

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