Freo's View

ATWELL ARCADE CHANGES NOT SUPPORTED

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on May 2, 2017

 

Fremantle Atwell Arcade developers Silverleaf are seeking alterations to the initial approval of the building from the City of Fremantle, but the changes are not supported by the City’s planning department and Design Advisory Committee.

Silverleaf wants to remove two levels of fritted glass panels on the north east and south east of the building and also some on the south of the building.

The wording of the Design Advisory Committee advise appears to be one of annoyance with the developers trying to get changes approved when the building is already occupied:

  •   DAC is very disappointed with this amended proposal. As part of the process of design evaluation, DAC spent considerable time working on key aspects of the design with the proponent. A number of design outcomes were negotiated and were considered as necessary components leading to the DAC conditional support of the proposal and its massing and form.
  •   The fritted glazing was incorporated into the original design to help address the issue of scale and massing of the additions by making the detail behind the glass less legible and therefore allowing the visible building bulk to be read as more ‘ephemeral’.
  •   The built outcome is the negation of what was negotiated and agreed, the opposite of what the DAC had been led to believe would be provided.
  •   The provision of the balustrading to the street parapet was recognised as an important component of the promised heritage contribution.
  •   DAC is unwilling to accept that these design components, agreed by the proponent and necessary for DAC’s initial support, should be deleted because of cost.
  •   In summary, DAC does not support any of the proposed changes to the fritted glazing and screening, nor the deletion of the balustrade, all critical parts of the negotiated outcome that led to DAC supporting the project. DAC believes the project should be completed in the form that it supported and on which the DA was approved.

It is interesting to note that design changes are quite often proposed by developers after the City has given building approval and often cost are given as the reason for the changes.

Silverleaf is a huge property owner in Fremantle and they are going to develop the Woolstores Shopping Centre site, the Henderson Street Police and Courthouse precinct and the Manning Arcade, so it is very important that the developers realise they can’t get away with late changes after the horse has bolted. They need to budget better so cost don’t become an issue well into the development process.

I like it that Silverleaf does not land bank and that they quickly develop the properties they buy, but they also need to be aware of their corporate responsibilities to the community. It is not helpful that they express frustration with Fremantle Council and the DAC when Council and the expert panel insist on better design, because developers trying to cut corners and getting away with average buildings is not acceptable to the Fremantle community.

Developers often behave as if we owe them gratitude for developing in Fremantle, and I for one am delighted about so many new buildings in the CBD, but trying to get approval for un-approvable buildings is becoming a bit of a norm, with five storeys proposed for the West End when only three are permitted, and with design quality that should see architects publicly flogged for daring to suggest boring mediocrity that is disrespectful to Fremantle’s unique heritage character.

Silverleaf is good for Fremantle but only if they create stunning new inner city buildings instead of blandness. The fritted glass panelling on the Atwell Arcade makes the multi-storey building appear a lot softer and it blends better into the sky. Those plans were approved by Council and the developers now need to fulfil their part of the ‘contract’ with the City of Fremantle and not expect late changes.

The item is on the CoF Planning Committee agenda for this Wednesday at 6 pm.

Roel Loopers

 

2 Responses

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  1. Suzanne said, on May 2, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    Hear hear,
    Cate Rose

  2. Cate Rose said, on May 2, 2017 at 10:33 am

    We really have to watch developmental scale in Freo. I’ve just returned from a trip overseas where no respect has been made to beautiful heritage buildings and where there were opportunities to enhance beautiful old architecture unfortunately it ends up looking like the proverbial dog’s breakfast. Its quite alarming seeing what is going up for approval in Fremantle. Once the streetscape is destroyed there is no coming back. Let’s honour the old buildings on which our beautiful little city has emerged!


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