Freo's View

RARE ROUNDHOUSE UPSTAIRS VIEWS

Posted in arthur head, city of fremantle, heritage, roundhouse, Uncategorized by freoview on August 14, 2017

 

RH 1

 

Power is being installed in the Fremantle Roundhouse today, so a rare opportunity to climb the very steep and narrow steps and have a look the upstairs area, that is normally closed off.

It is quite clear that the steps are too dangerous to open up the upstairs of Western Australia’s oldest remaining public building to visitors, and most of the volunteer tourist guides have never been there either, so here some rare glimpses.

 

Roel Loopers

NO COMPROMISES FOR FREO’S WEST END

Posted in city of fremantle, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on August 12, 2017

 

The FREMANTLE HERALD was kind enough to publish my Thinking Allowed about the necessary protection of Fremantle’s permanently heritage-listed West End this weekend. In case you don’t get the Chook home delivered or pick up a copy in town, I’ll post it here as well.

The attack by developers on Fremantle’s historic West End needs to be stopped and the City of Fremantle needs more support from State Government agencies to do that.

Applications for five-storey buildings keep coming although architects and developers are well aware that there is a three storey limit in the West End precinct.

There is an option for additional discretionary height of one floor, if it creates a better heritage outcome, or if the architecture of the building is considered to be of exceptional high quality.

What we see though are applications for boring and mediocre concrete boxes which would destroy the streetscape.

Architects show little to no respect for the spatial environment and the history of place, they just want to bang a totally inappropriate modern building in the middle of heritage buildings. This was shown in the recent application for three five-storey buildings behind Customs House in Henry Street going all the way to the former Centrelink site in Pakenham Street.

There was also a five storey application for the former Workers Club site in Henry Street, but fortunately that was rejected.

But even when Fremantle Council rejects development proposals the State’s Joint Development Assessment Panel or State Planning Commission can overrule council decisions, and they often do.

The State’s Heritage Office in my opinion sometimes also fails, as was the case with the now cancelled application by Notre Dame University for a mediocre five-storey building on the corner of High and Cliff streets. The Heritage Office recommended approval of the building, but Fremantle Council rejected it.

If UNDA had decided to go to JDAP with it they might well have approved the building the community and council did not want, on the recommendation of the Heritage Office.

It is only the sense of community and corporate responsibility of UNDA’s Vice Chancellor Celia Hammond that made the university decide to withdraw the plans for the new School of Nursing and Midwifery and start the process from scratch with a whole new design.

I am not against the development of some derelict sites and renovation of buildings in the West End, but there is nothing that can convince me that more than four storeys is appropriate for the heritage precinct. We only want outstanding development in the heritage area and nothing above four storeys!

Fremantle Council approved the five-storey nothingness of the Quest Hotel in Pakenham Street, because according to the planning and heritage officers of CoF it would preserve the interior heritage integrity of the building, but it hasn’t! Walk into the foyer of the serviced apartments buildings and you have no clue whatsoever that this is a heritage building. The blue artwork on the top corner of it is not suitable either.

Developers believe they can get away with murder in Fremantle because we are desperate for economic recovery in the port city. Yes we are, but not at any cost and the destruction of the unique character of our city.

If developers need extra height to please the bottom triple line they can develop in the east of Fremantle, and not even there indiscriminately.

Fremantle deserves more consideration when one wants to develop here and we need more support from State Government to protect the unique qualities of our city!

Roel Loopers

Comments Off on NO COMPROMISES FOR FREO’S WEST END

JDAP REFUSES FIVE STOREY WEST END BUILDINGS

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on August 9, 2017

 

 

 

In a 2.15 hour meeting today the W.A. Joined Development Assessment Panel unanimously refused the application for three five-storey buildings in Fremantle’s heritage-listed West End.

The buildings were proposed for the Customs House on the corner of Henry and Phillimore street, going all the way back to the former Centrelink site in Pakenham Street.

Representatives from FICRA, Lance Holt School and the Fremantle Society spoke against the proposal.

FICRA spokeswoman Mary Rose Baker said it was frustrating that the Fremantle community had to keep defending the West End agains in-defensable buildings.

A Lance Holt spokeswoman said there were a whole raft of issues with the proposal that were not compliant with several planning schemes and policies.

Agnieshka Kiera for FS said the height is excessive in comparison to adjacent buildings, and would change forever the roofscape and urban aspect of the West End. Over-development would negatively impact on the heritage identity of the area.

Speakers for the applicants spoke about the unique opportunity to revitalise and activate the West End by having significantly more residents living there, and that the buildings would complement the West End heritage character through best design outcomes.

They said that they were on the right track, through modifications made after the plans had been submitted, to get support from the State Heritage Office.

Height is the major concern that can be modified, but height is not detrimental to the area. The buildings would have a positive impact on the streetscape.

JDAP panel member Fremantle Councillor Andrew Sullivan asked why the architects had decided on such a robust approach and with solid, even heavy, materials.

The building heights across the site were a major concern and the applicants had not reviewed that aspect significantly enough to warrant a deferral. The fundamental issue remains height, Sullivan said, and that the justification for extra, discretionary, height was rejected by the City of Fremantle.

Sullivan also said the proposal was not a complete dud and had the potential to significantly contribute to the city and save the West End, but it needed major amendments. It failed the fundamental test of built form and does not pay respect to the heritage facades and locality in general. “The failure in architecture in un-approvable.”

Councillor Jon Strachan said that deferring the application was not an option for him because the plans needed significant changes, but that he was quietly confident a good outcome could be reached after major changes had been made.

Strachan said it was not an honest application as the developers just tried to test what they would be able to get away with, and then made little changes here and little changes there. “Come back with an excellent design!” he suggested.

JDAP Chair put a motion for a 90-day deferral forward that was not passed 2-3 votes, and then the entire panel voted to refuse the application, which may now end up at the State Administrative Tribunal, if the applicants are stubborn and unwilling to compromise and submit new plans to the City of Fremantle that are more sympathetic to the West End heritage precinct.

Last but not least I have to compliment the City of Fremantle planning officer Julia Kingsbury for her very good, detailed, and to the point representation, that concluded that the plans were not approvable.

It was very interesting to see JDAP at work, but some of the comments made by panel members have not given me the confidence that Fremantle’s West End will be well protected from inappropriate development in the future.

One last word from me to the architects and developers: You have a great opportunity here to excel and put up outstanding four-storey buildings. While I appreciate you want a good return for your investment and maximise sellable and lettable floorspace, you would be well advised to take the example of Notre Dame University and reflect, sit back, forget egos, and redesign your proposal substantially. All the community is asking for is respectful architecture that enhances the heritage precinct. Come on, You can do it!

 

Roel Loopers

CELEBRATING FREO’S HERITAGE BATTLERS

 

High Street 1

 

I am delighted to have received notification from Fremantle Notre Dame University that the Vice Chancellor and senior staff have taken on board the suggestion I posted on Freo’s View last week of a commemorative wall at the back of the St Teresa Library in Henry Street.

The wall would commemorate the history of Fremantle and the contribution made by individuals and groups to preserve our heritage buildings.

UNDA wrote to me that they are now considering a wall with historic B&W photos plus a plaque that would feature individuals and groups, such as the Fremantle Society, who have been involved in preserving the precinct’s historic character.

This would be a nice new tourist attraction and acknowledgment of the dedicated work of Freo’s heritage warriors such as Les Lauder, Don Whittington, June Hutchison, John Dowson, Ron Davis, etc.

I hope that with collaboration with the City of Fremantle the wall will become reality in the not too distant future. Thank you UNDA!

If you want to learn about the many battles to save Freo’s heritage try to get a copy of the Fighting For Fremantle book the Fremantle Society published!

 

Roel Loopers

NO LUNATIC ARCHITECTURE FOR HISTORIC WEST END!

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on August 7, 2017

 

 

The lunatic development proposal for five storey buildings at 2 Henry and 7 Pakenham Street in Fremantle’s heritage West End Precinct will be deliberated at the W.A. Joint Development Assessment Panel(JDAP) this Wednesday August 9 at 10am at the Townhall. (Enter from the backstairs near the former Myer building).

Anton Capital and Hassel Architects show very little consideration for the unique heritage aspects and streetscapes of the historic West End, and hence the State Heritage Office recommended the refusal of the development, as did Fremantle Council unanimously.

The last thing we want to see in the West End is oversized boring concrete boxes, but that is all the architects could come up with. That is very disrespectful, arrogant and inconsiderate.

The City of Fremantle  and W.A. State agencies need to take a strong stand agains totally inappropriate development proposals for Freo’s gorgeous West End.

These applications are a total waste of time for the City’s planning department and for JDAP, Heritage Office, Planning Commission, etc. as they are un-approvable!

 

Roel Loopers

 

FREMANTLE HERITAGE WALL OF FAME

Posted in city of fremantle, heritage, notre dame university, Uncategorized by freoview on July 30, 2017

 

wall of fame

 

I wonder if the City of Fremantle and Notre Dame University would be interested in collaborating on a Heritage Wall of Fame.

While buildings, builders and architects do get recognition at heritage awards, the custodians of our built heritage rarely get a mention.

I understand that some of our heritage protectors are a bit on the nose with council and developers, but their passionate  and tireless efforts over many years to retain the heritage integrity of Fremantle deserves recognition.

This blank and boring wall in Henry Street would be perfectly suited to put small plaques on that acknowledge such people as Les Lauder, Don Whittington, June Hutchison, John Dowson, etc.

We could start with half a dozen and add a new person every year during Heritage Week.

What about it UNDA Vice Chancellor Celia Hammond and Mayor Brad Pettitt?

 

Roel Loopers

 

NEW STAIRS TO KULCHA BUILDING

Posted in city of fremantle, heritage, hospitality, Uncategorized by freoview on July 28, 2017

 

 

The new public access stairs to the former Kulcha venue above the Dome cafe on the Fremantle Cappuccino Strip are rather massive, but I understand it will include a lift for disabled access as well and that is a good thing.

The venue will become a restaurant and music venue again, so that might still happen this year.

 

Roel Loopers

Comments Off on NEW STAIRS TO KULCHA BUILDING

GREAT ARCHITECTURE STRESS RELIEF

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on July 27, 2017

 

After Fremantle Council last night rejected the awful development proposal for the historic West End, the newsletter of HAMES SHARLEY Architects comes timely today, to remind us that good architecture can help us de-stress.

The article by Peter Kempshall refers to research by the University of Warwick, that concluded that while green space is very important in the urban environment, aesthetically pleasing buildings are also a boost to our mental wellbeing.

Senior Associate Rachel Seal of Hames Sharley said that “There is no reason why an urban environment can’t have the same qualities to reduce stress as a natural one.”

If we can create urban green spaces framed by beautiful and site responsive architecture and marry the two elements together, all the better.”

“It’s that kind of mix that really makes the city cohesive, right down to the micro level of interior design. Design is concerned with the experience from both inside and outside buildings.

I wished more architects would consider these thoughts, because cheap and cheerful concrete boxes will hardly ever have the visual impact that great creative design does have.

Spatial respect for streetscapes, history and lifestyle of place should be top priorities when designing for character suburbs and places of historic significance, such as Fremantle.

Roel Loopers

Comments Off on GREAT ARCHITECTURE STRESS RELIEF

ATTACK ON FREO’S HISTORIC WEST END STOPPED

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on July 27, 2017

 

Pakenham Street development proposal

 

I am delighted that Fremantle Council last night unanimously rejected the application for three five-storey buildings in Fremantle’s West End.

The three buildings would have been built from the Customs House on the corner of Henry and Phillimore Street all the way to Pakenham Street and would have destroyed the West End forever and set a precedent for future massive buildings.

Not only did our Councillors reject the application but the State Heritage Office also recommended its refusal.

Councillor Bryn Jones said that the reasons for the refusal are very comprehensive and it would have been the end of the West End as we know it.

Councillor Andrew Sullivan said the development was significantly out of order and that the permanent state heritage listing of the West End was a game changer that would have an impact on how the State’s Joined Development Assessment Panel(JDAP) would rule on future applications for the historic area.

Councillor Jones said that JDAP cannot approve a development when the State Heritage Office recommend it to be rejected.

There is incredible arrogance by architects trying to get five-storey buildings in the West End, when the planning scheme only allows for three storeys, with a possible discretionary additional storey for outstanding architecture or heritage preservation.

The proposed buildings show absolute disrespect for the heritage significance of the beautiful West End and are very basic, boring, mediocre TBL(tripple bottom line) boxes that would do nothing to enhance the area.

The attack by developers on the West End needs to stop and the State Government needs to step in and be stronger and make sure that the DAP does not approve future five-storey applications.

Councillor Bryn Jones reminded us last night that the State Heritage Office had recommended the Notre Dame University five-storey building in High Street for approval and that is a serious worry.

It was only the university’s Vice Chancellor Celia Hammond’s respect for Fremantle Council and the Freo community that saw Notre Dame withdraw the development application after public rejection.

That building will now be totally redesigned to accommodate the wishes of the community. That is responsible and respectful development other developers should take heed off!

 

Roel Loopers

 

GRANTS FOR HERITAGE CONSERVATION AVAILABLE

Posted in city of fremantle, heritage, state government, Uncategorized, western australia by freoview on July 20, 2017

 

 

WA Minister for Heritage, Culture and the Arts David Templeman MLA liked my blog post about the heritage listing of Fremantle’s West End so much that he shared it on his Facebook page. That’s a nice acknowledgement, so thank you David.

I forgot to mention in that post on Wednesday that private owners are eligible to apply for a Heritage Council grant of up to $ 100,000 to help with conservation works.

 

Roel Loopers

 

Comments Off on GRANTS FOR HERITAGE CONSERVATION AVAILABLE

%d bloggers like this: