Freo's View


Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, fremantle society by freoview on March 24, 2017


I don’t often agree nowadays with Fremantle Society President John Dowson but his comment in the Fremantle Herald today that the proposed five-storey development for Pakenham and Henry streets is ‘Insanity’ is spot on!

It would be absolute madness to approve these buildings which would irreversibly destroy the West End.

The proposed building on the Centrelink site  is evil in it’s absolute ugliness, and the beautiful facade of the Customs building on the corner of Henry and Phillimore streets would be destroyed if two storeys stuck out above it.

The problem will be that even if Fremantle Council rejects these inappropriate buildings we will be dependent on the whim of the pro-developers state agencies DAP and SAT and the new State Government need to do something about that very urgently.

The Fremantle community will not allow the destruction of our beautiful heritage West End that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to WA every year!

Roel Loopers

7 Responses

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  1. freoview said, on March 26, 2017 at 5:57 am

    A lot of modern architecture is simply lazy. There is no pride, no innovation, no creativity. It’s cheap, boring, uninspiring and ugly and it does not even try to be clever or exceptional.
    Great modern architecture can be delightful and challenging, but instead Fremantle gets mediocrity created by those who don’t care that they destroy streetscapes and the intimate character of this city and that is so very disappointing and worrying.


  2. bigjulie said, on March 26, 2017 at 3:53 am

    The choice is either replicate, innovate or rubber stamp minimalist.

    I am no fan of modern boring architecture, preferring the mathematical proportions of classical revivals resplendent with ornamentation. The MSC building is a corker. It breaks all the rules of compliance yet it stimulates augments and intrigues.

    The danger of united thinking is that the result can resemble Nazi or Stalinist architecture: grotesque conformist oppressive buildings that say nothing or, worse, impact harshly upon one’s humanness. The awesome State subjugating the insignificant citizen.

    For me, architecture needs to be clever, surprising and fun, exciting to the eye, mysterious and provocative. Height restrictions seem arbitrary albeit they legitimately attempt to reduce the blob of a building which could alternatively be broken by funky spires, towers and crenulated look-outs. The Art & Craft Movement was a political brag heralding the decline in craftsmen skill. Could we even find the artisans today to replicate our grand-fathers’ mathematical proportional designs and tantalizing embellishments?

  3. Rob Fittock said, on March 25, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    it appears that Freo must be treated in a totally different way to how the rest of the world respects and value adds to the adaptive use of heritage buildings

    You can sit at home and research the incredible examples of love it or hate it architecture….and they all work

  4. John said, on March 25, 2017 at 6:33 am

    Astonishing, in its outrageous disregard for the beauty of the west end. What is even more mind- boggling is that these proposals could even be imagined in this day and age.
    As Carl noted, the 60’s and 70’s was a time when Fremantle could have been destroyed. Of course, the 60’s and 70’s was a time when most felt that anything old was rubbish. Outsiders saw Fremantle as rundown and even property owners themselves didn’t bother with repairs or beautifying buildings. I remember growing up in South Fremantle and people would disparagingly say “rich” area. We lived in a culture where there was a general feeling that the old needed to come down and replaced with the new.
    Today, we all understand and appreciate historical precincts, their character and beauty. We are far more enlightened when it comes to preserving history than in the past, and yet, more and more of these barbaric proposals are coming out of the wood work in Fremantle.
    Not sure why … is it opportunistic developers and an accommodative council, or is it the undemocratic DAP and SAT enticing developers?
    But I know one thing Roel,
    There has been talk of the Fremantle Society becoming irrelevant in recent years….. Balderdash!
    Now is the perfect time for the community to come together and say to everyone involved… F_@#k Off!

  5. freoview said, on March 24, 2017 at 9:32 pm

    Very well said Carl! I could not agree more. Thank you.


  6. Suzanne said, on March 24, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    Thank you John Dowson and thank you Roel.
    How dare these developers; and yes, I include that esteemed University, Notre Dame with its 46 buildings in the Fremantle CBD, and the proposed monstrosity, cnr High & Cliff; choose to ruin the iconic historic port city that is Fremantle.
    Generally developers have no shame as they seek the big bucks, and no one blames them for seeking benefits for their shareholders, but they should keep to the planning rules.
    As for Notre Dame which leeches off my hard earned funds, where we ratepayers financially support that institution with our taxes, how about a bit of humility.
    How about simply abiding by the planning rules. Even though the ND monstrosity is ugly, to each his own, but to totally ignor those who reluclantly financially support you, is appalling.
    A little bit of thought about the people of Fremantle if you please

  7. Carl Payne said, on March 24, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    We really need to start thinking about what the West End of Fremantle is, in an Australian context.

    It is a remarkably complete 19th Century urbanscape, which retains the essence of what this means. It’s a living museum; and this is important, because it is a functioning and workable collection of buildings that is rare in 21st century Australia.

    Many overseas towns and cities can boast similar precincts; but few in Australia can. This is the first important point.

    The second thing is that this is crucial because it has both economic and cultural advantages. The economic growth that Perth saw in the 60s; 70s; and 80s would have destroyed Fremantle’s West End if it had occurred here as it did in the State’s capital. We now have a chance to positively build on the magnificent streetscape we have inherited and – mostly – conserved. This can create significant economic advantages, because there is no doubt that Fremantle is now poised to grow its already significant Tourism marketplace.

    But this is only part of the importance of the West End. It is also a cultural reminder for all of us who live here. It is a symbol of our past achievements. Cultures that demolish their past, weaken their future; they lose contact with their heritage, in both a physical and an emotional way. And adding a couple of floors to an old West End building destroys its integrity; it alters the streetscape; and it alters the skyline.

    Look over Fremantle from the monument; or from the Town Hall; or from the Roundhouse. The roof-tops; and the old wall-parapet tops, are part of the heritage streetscape. They are what conservation is all about. We are talking about very fragile things here; connections; relationships; urban-scapes that are very easily lost.

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