Freo's View


Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, fremantle society,, Uncategorized by freoview on August 26, 2017




The always negative emails from Fremantle Society president John Dowson to its members this time attacks the professionalism of internationally renowned Kerry Hill Architects, who designed the new City of Fremantle Civic Centre at Kings Square.

JD quotes Fremantle architect Ron Campbell who wrote to the Society that “whoever is pushing the design is making it more expensive and less of a civic building.” 

Campbell also claims the architecture is awful. JD wrote:

“Rob Campbell is concerned with the sharp angular nature of the building, especially when viewed from the corner of High and Newman Streets (near the crosswalk next to Myer). He said the sharp angular turn of the building at such an acute angle is “architecturally awful and not in the Fremantle tradition. It is a terrible mistake which undermines the architectural presentation.”  He said it was council playing developer and not creating a civic space, because that awkward corner retail space would be difficult to rent and would compete with the adjacent Sirona development.” 

The sharp angle of the building is very simply explained. It keeps the sightlines of Newman Court and the High Street reserve clear and legible, and that makes a lot of sense. Newman Court is now clearly defined, as is the High Street reserve that separates the St John’s triangle from the City triangle.

I wished the Society had a more positive platform than just blasting anything Fremantle Council does.

Roel Loopers

3 Responses

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  1. Carl Payne said, on August 29, 2017 at 10:24 am

    You might have contorted your driving analogy a bit Muz. Do we need to “forego the rear-view mirror”? Or do we just keep looking ahead but retain the mirror; and glance into it occasionally, like all good drivers? You suggest as such, when you say “always mindful of precedent….” I just don’t wanna have a city that is always doing development U-turns, as rules change with successive administrations. That might even lead to speed-bumps being installed; and then removed. God-forbid. And we don’t want any of that “blind-constraint.” Driving with a mask over the eyes is just too dangerous.


  2. freoview said, on August 26, 2017 at 10:55 am

    I agree with you on that Murray. The whole concept that Fremantle is a human scale city, just because in the past we only built low-rise buildings, is fraught. The world develops and changes every moment of every day and architecture has evolved as well. Not always for the better, but as a society we cannot go back to the past only as a reference of what acceptable architecture for our cities is.



  3. Murray Slavin said, on August 26, 2017 at 10:51 am

    To my mind a problem is that many commentators live in a world where experimentation is considered fraught with risk. And that’s true. However, we need to have our cities evolve to meet changing times and needs. As a community we need to forego the rear-view mirror as the primary design mechanism and be forward-looking in our design, always mindful of precedent … but not blindly constrained by it.


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