Freo's View

NEW FREO CIVIC CENTRE GOOD FOR HERITAGE

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, kings square, Uncategorized by freoview on June 28, 2017

 

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An independent report by heritage experts Griffiths Architects has concluded that the new City of Fremantle civic building at Kings Square has a ‘favourable effect on heritage’ by providing strong interactions between the historic Fremantle Town Hall and the civic and community functions of the new building.

The soon-to-be-built $50m administration and library building will enhance the important heritage aspects of Fremantle’s Kings Square according to the recently received heritage impact statement.

The report advises the new building will help return the town hall to prominence by reintegrating the town hall back into the centre of civic life:

The overall presentation of the town hall, civic functions and administration will be visually enhanced by a more integrated 21st century building that relates well to the town hall, Kings Square and William Street and Newman Court.

The changes will reintegrate the town hall back into day-to-day city life, provide proper connections to services and lift areas and ensure that contemporary requirements that can be so damaging to historic buildings are located in the new building.

Fremantle Council wanted a long-term approach in determining the design for the new building and that it must stand the test of time to last 100 years or more to become Fremantle’s future heritage.

Council weighed up all the information and decided a full redevelopment rather than a refurbishment of the existing building would be best to meet the long-term needs of the Fremantle community.

The Griffiths Architects report was critical of the current building, saying it had failed to make a positive contribution to the urban setting of Kings Square, was intrusive, dislocated the town hall from its administrative functions and was past its useful life.

The current building is inefficient from an environmental and operating cost perspective, suffers from concrete cancer, has significant asbestos contamination issues and does not meet legal disability access requirements.

I don’t believe Fremantle Council has decided yet if it will add a third floor to the new Civic Centre, but I think it would be remiss, and Council would fail in their duty, if they did not plan for the future of a larger Fremantle, when there is little doubt that Fremantle is growing and local government reform through amalgamations will happen in the not too distant future.

The Kings Square Project will be a huge game-changer for Fremantle and change our fortunes for the better. I can’t wait for it to start!!

Roel Loopers

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