Freo's View

MSC CUPOLA GREAT HERITAGE FEATURE

Posted in architecture, buildings, city of fremantle, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on April 13, 2018

 

hero shot

 

What an absolute delight it was this Friday morning to see the Mediterranean Shipping Company-MSC reinstalling the cupola on top of the heritage building on the corner of Cliff and Philimore streets.

The company has to be thanked and applauded for spending a lot of money on doing that important bit extra.  They should be an example and inspiration for other property owners of heritage buildings in Fremantle’s West End and elsewhere to reinstall some of the former features on buildings.

Very well done MSC and a big thank you from the Fremantle community!

Roel Loopers

 

APARTMENTS FOR FREMANTLE WORKERS CLUB BUILDING

 

Workers Club

 

While most Fremantle people are aware of the demolition of the Queensgate building and part demolition of the former Myer building at Kings Square another demolition has remained largely unnoticed.

The former Workers Club building in Henry Street is also a demolition site to make way for a four-storey residential apartment development.

It is one of the rare opportunities to develop in the historic West End of Fremantle and the plans for the building look quite attractive, with the former Workers Club facade retained.

Another building in Henry Street, next to the Customs House that was recently bought by Notre Dame University, was auctioned on Friday, but I don’t know if it was sold.

Roel Loopers

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BIG PROGRESS AT FREO’S KINGS SQUARE

 

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When it comes to the Fremantle Kings Square redevelopment project I am like a child waiting for my Christmas presents, so I wanted to see a bit more of what is happening and asked developer Sirona Capital for access to the site.

PROBUILD‘s Nick Croft showed me around on Wednesday afternoon, but unfortunately the photos I hoped to get, looking down into the big demolition site from the adjacent roofs, were not possible because of health&safety regulations. The hero shot from ground level was one taken prior to my visit by Nick on his mobile phone and I thank him for sharing it here on Freo’s View.

The roof of the former MYER building has now also come down, so that later on two new storeys can be added, and inside the building is stripped back to just its concrete skeleton.

The Queensgate building’s William Street facade is now also being pulled back and in about ten days the facade of the Myer building at Queen Street will come down.

I feel sorry for the traders who are negatively impacted by all this, but sometimes in life we need to acknowledge that the big picture has priority over individuals and individual businesses.

I just hope they can all hang in there and hopefully reap the benefits of a rejuvenated inner city in less than two years from now. Good luck to you all!!

Roel Loopers

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SPACE FRAME FOR SPARE PARTS THEATRE

 

spare parts 1

spare parts 2

 

The Fremantle Spare Parts Puppet Theatre building is getting a modern facelift in form of a so-called exo-skeleton. It’s a kind of Zimmer frame for buildings, as the images above show.

The Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries commissioned North Fremantle Slavin Architects to help solve a problem identified with the Spare Parts building at Pioneer Park.

Slavin Architects were engaged by the Department to assess the external walls which were showing signs of potential structural instability.

Instead of demolishing and rebuilding the walls, which would have had a dramatic impact on Spare Parts future programs, Slavin Architects took a more lateral approach which was to brace the outside of the building with an ‘exo-skeleton’ or space-frame. Not only was the cost substantially lower than rebuilding the walls, but the time lost was minimal.

“The minimalist works provide an elegant and sculptural solution to a building of cultural and social significance to the City and the State.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CRUSHER’S DAUGHTER!

Posted in buildings, city of fremantle, development, family, fathers, Uncategorized by freoview on March 3, 2018

 

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The Newman Court facade of the Queensgate building at Fremantle’s Kings Square is almost demolished thanks to the dedicated crusher operator of the DELTA Group demolition team, who worked on the long weekend Saturday.

The crusher operator’s wife and daughters were watching dad at work because it is a special day. The teenage daughter was on the phone with daddy because it is her birthday today. Happy birthday!

There were a lot of people watching and taking photos, so it is a shame the black fences and trees obscure so much of what is going on.

Roel Loopers

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NEWMAN COURT CLOSED FOR KINGS SQUARE PROJECT

Posted in buildings, city of fremantle, kings square, Uncategorized by freoview on February 28, 2018

 

Kings Square

 

The Newman Court thoroughfare between Queen and William streets is now closed to allow for the demolition of the former  Queensgate building and part-facade only- demolition of the former Myer building. It was not deemed safe to keep the narrow passage way open.

For me personally it is disappointing that I have no longer access to take progress photos of the demolition work and later on of the construction of the new Kings Square Project buildings, because from Kings Square palm trees obscure the view and from William Street the plane trees.

Roel Loopers

STATE HERITAGE GRANTS AVAILABLE

Posted in architecture, buildings, city of fremantle, Uncategorized by freoview on September 13, 2017

 

Private owners of State Registered heritage places are invited to apply for a share of $1.2 million to assist with urgent conservation works to their properties.

The Heritage Council of Western Australia‘s Heritage Grants Program offers dollar-for-dollar funding for grants of up to $100,000, including for conservation plans to help guide works.

Last year, 13 metropolitan and 15 regional places shared in grant funding which, when combined with owner contributions, generated almost $3 million in conservation works.

The Heritage Grants Program is one of the few grants programs in Australia that assists private owners with the costs associated with maintaining heritage places.

Since the Heritage Grants Program’s inception in 1997, 745 heritage projects have received grants totalling more than $18 million.

Applications for the 2017-18 Heritage Grants Program are open until 12pm Tuesday October 31, 2017 and successful applicants will be announced in early 2018.

 

Roel Loopers

VOTE ROEL FOR CITY WARD!

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FREMANTLE DEVELOPMENT NEEDS SPATIAL AWARENESS

Posted in architecture, buildings, city of fremantle, community, history by freoview on February 1, 2017

The Streetwise column in the West Australian property section by architect and lecturer in architecture Dr Simon Pendal should be a must read for Fremantle Councillors and planning officers because Pendal’s expert opinion is significant for the way Fremantle develops.

Pendal writes that In an increasingly global world, we should not be afraid to be provincial and to work with an awareness of our individual and shared mental space. This is important to keep certain areas ‘proudly identifiable’ he argues.

This strongly applies to retaining Fremantle’s unique character and is even more significant in the West End and in regard to the, in my opinion unacceptable, development proposal by Notre Dame University for the corner of High and Cliff streets.

Dr. Pendal argues that design that renders all places equal fails to recognise the ‘local mental space’ of a street or suburb, and he writes that we have a kind of common spatial understanding that we shape and that shapes us. The historic West End of Fremantle no doubt has done that for many decades and needs to be protected from inappropriate architecture.

I believe people connect to these spaces, relate to them and feel a sense of belonging and proud ownership. That is why many want to live in Fremantle because it is unique, has a special character and connects us to our roots of history.

Community is not just about people but about lifestyle, a common ground and the awareness that we are sharing this exceptional city and are the custodians of it, to pass it on to future generations; changed, improved and developed, but with deep respect and consideration for the past.

That is not happening in Freo at the moment, where ugly and mediocre buildings are being approved and many more proposed, to the detriment of our city’s character. We can and must do a whole lot better than that!

Roel Loopers

LET’S TALK ABOUT THE NEW FACE OF FREMANTLE

Posted in architecture, buildings, city of fremantle, development by freoview on December 15, 2016

The development boom in Fremantle is positive but it is also a timely reminder that we need to have a discussion in Freo about what sort of development we want because it is too general to say we want to protect the unique heritage character of our city.

There should not be a blanket approach to density, hight, building design, etc. because to have a real positive impact we need to localise planning laws more so that there is more emphasis on the streetscape and specific areas.

Even in the heritage West End there are buildings that should never have been erected and disappointing streetscapes, so we need to have a community debate on how we can avoid ugliness and inappropriate architecture.

I talked to a well-known architect the other day who said he liked the new building on the corner of Pakenham and Bannister streets, while I think it is awfully mediocre. Another architect does not like the new MSC building in Cliff Street, but I love it, so how do we find compromises that are more acceptable to the wider community? Clearly personal taste won’t do.

We often talk only about the hight and human scale of buildings, but we should not generalise there because east of Queen Street a bit of extra height will do no harm in my opinion, while west of it we should not compromise above four storeys. There is no need for extra height in the West End but it is acceptable in the East End, I believe.

The planning requirement of set-back above certain heights can also be counter productive as it often has a negative impact on the design and the cohesion of a building. Set-backs often look like an after thought that does not fit in well with the rest of the building.

Fremantle’s Design Advisory Committee seems to be a bit of a lame duck when one considers some of the buildings approved by the City of Fremantle. The fact that Notre Dame University has been working with the DAC and planning staff for many months, but is still seeking approval for an inappropriate and boring five-storey building on the corner of High and Cliff streets, shows that the process is flawed because UNDA should have been told much earlier that their plans are not acceptable.

I agree that not every building can or should be iconic, but if we are serious about wanting to build heritage of the future buildings in Fremantle we need to do a whole lot better than what we have been doing in the last three years.

There is also a flaw in the percentage for the art scheme when developers can just add art to the new building facade to satisfy that requirement, as we see in Pakenham Street at the Quest Hotel. I don’t believe that was the initial idea for the art scheme, as it should be true public art and not a clever way by developers of avoiding it.

Open-minded and mature debate is needed to decide Fremantle’s future look, so let’s have some public forums in 2017 with architects, city planners and place makers, ideally from outside Freo, so that we don’t hear the same opinions we have already heard before. I would be very interested to hear State Architect Geoff Warne’s thoughts about Fremantle for example.

The community needs to be able to have input on what the new face of Fremantle should look like!

low-impact-development-uk

I put this artist impression from the UK here to show why we need to talk about development in Fremantle. This zero energy affordable residential development is considered low-impact high density there, while I believe it is very high impact. Something like this would be too over powering even on the Knutsford Street CoF depot site.

Roel Loopers

MEDIOCRE BUILDINGS NOT AN OPTION FOR FREMANTLE

Posted in architecture, buildings, city of fremantle, development by freoview on October 4, 2016

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It was interesting to hear, while I was being interviewed on RTRFM radio yesterday morning about unacceptable mediocre development in the Fremantle inner city, that the 5-storey development proposal for 18-22 Adelaide Street has now become a significant development and that the period for submissions will therefore be extended.

It is beyond me that the City of Fremantle Planning Department believed that a five-storey development in the heart of the heritage city, opposite Freo’s oldest church St John’s and the historic Townhall could be of low significance to the community.

I was the first on Freo’s View on September 27 to report about this under the headline “Outrageous ugliness proposed for Kings Square.” I followed that up with an article two days later about the unacceptable mediocrity of most buildings proposed for the Fremantle CBD.

Interesting to note in that regard that the Fremantle Society claims the front page of the Fremantle Herald and two letters from FS to the CoF changed the mind of the City of Fremantle planners, when they should have given credit that it was Freo’s View who disclosed the plans first.

Because it is now a significant development we can now also show an artist drawing of the proposal that shows three storeys of set-back square boxes with balconies, above the heritage facade, that make no reference to the vertical lines of the neighbouring buildings and the general vertical character of heritage buildings in Fremantle. It’s not good enough and the plans should be withdrawn and redrawn!

If only all architects had the values of Perth architect Jean-mic Perrine who states on his company’s website that he tells his co-workers that they have a duty to create beauty and that mediocre buildings are not an option. Amen to that!

Roel Loopers

 

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