Freo's View


Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on January 13, 2018


I came across an article published in September 2017 in The Conversation  by internationally renowned Perth city planner and architect Linley Lutton, who sadly died this week, and want to share some of Linley’s thoughts with you.

Lutton writes that retrofitting cities is poor planning, justified in the name of sustainability, and that the results are often substandard living environments that show no relationship to local content.

The dispersed city form means we have to work, sleep, shop and socialise in different parts of the city.

High-density living works well where streets are at human scale, buildings  are interesting and where there are plenty of public meeting spaces, but in Australia we build jam-packed home units with minimal public open space, Linley Lutton says.

That is the failure to understand the unique qualities of Australian culture and how people choose to live.

Lutton writes that recent research shows that the great majority of Australians reject apartment living and that the majority of those living in an apartment would not repeat the experience.

It is seriously questionable to randomly subjecting suburbs to high-rise apartments, and so is the public transport corridor argument, or building infill near suburban railway stations.

Public transport only works if people actually use it, but Bureau of Statistics figures show that in Perth less than 10% of those living within walking distance of a train station actually travel to work by train.

Linley Lutton writes that there are three essential requirements of a good city:

  • Cities must nurture and stimulate healthy human growth and community development.
  • Local communities must meaningful participate in city planning.
  • The unique cultural and physical context of a city must be respected.


These are all very important points to consider for Fremantle Council for its strategic infill targets and the introduction of buildings that are too high for our human-scale character city!

The funeral of Linley Lutton, a man I greatly respect and like, will be held this Monday January 15 at 3.30 pm at the Karrakatta Cemetery.


Roel Loopers



Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, Uncategorized by freoview on January 8, 2018




I am deeply sad to hear that renowned architect and city planner Linley Lutton passed away on January 7 after a long illness.

Linley was a truly delightful and gentle man whom I greatly respected as a city planner and architect.

I met him for the first time when he started the City Gatekeepers movement against the plans for Elizabeth Quay and reconnected with him when he was on the City of Fremantle Design Advisory Committee.

One not often in life has the opportunity and privilege to meet outstanding people like Linley Lutton, who make a real commitment to contribute and improve the world in which we live.

Linley will be missed by all who met him. There is no doubt that heaven will soon look a whole lot better.

The funeral will be held on Monday January 15 at 3.30 pm at the Karrakatta Cemetery.


Roel Loopers

I want to add this comment Linley posted on Freo’s View in late 2014 in response to a blog article I wrote, as it is still as relevant as ever:

I suggest that far from being a rant, Roel is simply echoing the frustration many people feel when the usual industry-focused voices dominate the sustainability debate. We need better.

There are many well-reasoned arguments for and against densification of existing cities. If done properly and in the right places, densification via appropriate urban infill can have a positive impact. When done badly however it can trigger a whole range of micro-climatic, infrastructural, economic and societal problems.

Increasing density does not have to mean high-rise or even medium-rise development. Attached row houses, three-storey walk-ups, apartment houses, narrow-fronted two-storey houses and micro lots all result in significant densification in sensitive ways.

In most European cities, apartments up to five or six storeys have existed in city centers for hundreds of years. These dwelling types work because at the ground plain there are wonderful squares, piazzas, parks, and streets which the people use as extended living spaces. Importantly, people in Europe have always lived with higher densities – it is part of their culture.

In my city planning work in China we always planned the ground plain as if it was a living space. In Libya I also recommended the emerging new towns be planned to ensure the public realm and higher-density housing were properly integrated.

In Perth however we seem to think that high-rise buildings shoe-horned onto small sites in inappropriate locations is the only way to increase population density. This is of course the lazy way to increase density and is embraced by industry. Some like this approach because it happens quickly and the sight of a cluster of new towers is interpreted as successful infill. The reality is however that most of these types of developments in Perth offer little more than a dormitory existence where the residents rarely engage with the surrounding area and still prefer to use their motor vehicles for regular travel.

In the last few years of ongoing design review work I have seen the design quality of apartment buildings drop alarmingly as the government encourages higher densities. Many are very small, have internal bedrooms with no natural light and ventilation and are located so close to busy roads that the balconies are unusable due to traffic noise. This compels residents to leave their windows closed all day and night to achieve a comfortable aural environment which then requires them to run their air conditioning system all night which they simply can’t afford.

Sustainable design in terms of energy and water consumption is a low priority and the construction materials used are very rarely recycled and are high in embedded energy. Once the current batch of substandard strata apartments has been constructed they will be there for a very long time and all of this is in the name of so-called sustainability via densification.

The sustainability debate at present is out of balance and dominated by a few who are driven by narrow-focused ideologies. Roel is intuitively responding to this imbalance.

Linley Lutton


Posted in art, city of fremantle, economy, retail, shopping, sirona capital, western australia by freoview on August 8, 2016

Architect Nic Brunsdon, the owner of Spacemarket and inventor of the Fremantle Kings Square Many 6160 retail incubator concept sent me the interesting research report Many 6169 Social and Economic Evaluation by Hannah Sutton.

The report is too extensive to publish in full but I will add it as a pdf to this blog post. Below some highlights from the report:

MANY6160 is a temporary space activation project that invited creative individuals and entrepreneurs to inhabit the vacant space. The results have demonstrated that this not only re-established active streetscapes but also provided many social and economic benefits to the tenants, and the community.

The makeover was spearheaded by Spacemarket and supported by the City of Fremantle and the building owner, Sirona Capital. MANY6160 is a large, previously unused and underutilised reactivated space for enterprise to gather, collaborate, and produce. “A place of curated, supportive, complimentary and quality operators working together towards the common goal of an active and vibrant Fremantle” –MANY 6160.

At 20,000m2 it has now become, to the best of the project team’s knowledge, “the worlds largest interior space activation”.

The community benefits of MANY6160 include:

  • Creation of Jobs
  • Improved “Brand Freo.”
  • Improved security in the area, activating streetscapes
  • Improved business and community confidence in the local area
  • Contribution to the local economy The tenant benefits of MANY6160 include:
  • Affordability of space
  • Customer sharing and more exposure
  • Business growth and skills development
  • Networking and collaborative opportunities
  • Allowance for experimentation
  • Graduated” businesses

From the initial joint funding of $45,000 from the City of Fremantle and Spacemarket more than 100 new businesses have operated from MANY6160 in Fremantle, over 20 businesses that became established enough to seek their own tenancy elsewhere, over 500 part time and full time jobs and thousands of dollars generated into the local economy due to weekly employee expenditure at local businesses.

MANY6160 is a case in point for the retention of urban ghosts, for passive energy management, and for new, collaborative forms of retail and urban habitation.”


The report also states that Many 6160 has 580 daily average visits and 695 daily average walkbys and that Many 6160 has produced 500+ people employed, 100+ business start-ups, 20+ graduates, 25 artists, 80+ retail stores, 95 workshop events, 70 events hosted, 1 wedding party, 2 motorbike shows, 12 murals painted, 5 music videos filmed, 70% of 20,000 sqm space used, 5 art galleries, 2 pop-up bars, and 100,000 happy customers.

The likelihood of the Kings Square Project now going ahead has improved a lot since Sirona Capital was announced as the preferred tenderer for a government department move to Fremantle, so that would mean the end of Many 6160 at Kings Square. The question is if Spacemarket and the City of Fremantle will want Many to continue and if a suitable space can be found to continue the innovative project.



Roel Loopers



Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, fremantle, western australia by freoview on July 31, 2016

An article about young architects and city development in today’s Sunday Times magazine has me wondering about certain facts in the article.

Journalist Jade Jurewicz mentions successful architect Nic Brunsdon, who among many innovative things such as Spacemarket and MOANA also started the Many 6160 retail and design incubator in the former Myer building at Fremantle’s Kings Square.

The article claims that Many pumped $ 1.7 million into the Fremantle economy since it opened in 2013 and because of Many there has been a 25 per cent reduction in vandalism in the area.

Where do these figures come from? Many is only open for four days a week, so I doubt it has a severe impact on the reduction of vandalism at Kings Square and I doubt it is highly successful as a retail environment as one rarely sees shoppers in the building.

I like fresh new innovative ideas, but the fact is that many mini retailers tried Many and left because it was not financially successful for them. Many is more or less a slightly more upmarket weekend market where presumably many traders have more secure income on weekdays to support their Many shop income, so how it has pumped $ 1.7 million into Fremantle, as the reporter claims, I’d like to know.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt is also quoted in the article and rightly says that cities develop in layers. Archeologists will no doubt also agree with our Mayor, but while the layers of innovation, development and progress are good, the physical layer of boring and mediocre new buildings in our city will have a long-lasting negative affect on the character of Fremantle. At present it looks more as if we are trying to put layers of manure on top of fields of beautiful roses. That is not acceptable!

Roel Loopers



Posted in cafe, fremantle, hospitality, western australia by freoview on May 21, 2016

ant 1

ant 2

ant 3


Fremantle has a stunning and very homely new cafe in L’ANTICA in South Fremantle just down the road from the South Beach Hotel.

Beautiful decor with large copper lights, a shiny wood fired pizza oven, great coffee, fully licensed and special focaccia meals. From next week it will also serve Pizza Napolitana during the evenings.

L’Antica is open from Wednesday-Sunday and is as authentic Italian as one can get with only Italian staff and Trombetta coffee imported from Rome.

The interior was designed by world-renowned Dutch architect Camiel Weijenberg who even sent a Danish photographer to Freo to capture the ambience.

There are long tables to create a community feeling, home made cakes, etc.

Try it out. The Espresso I had on Friday was superb!

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, heritage by freoview on April 11, 2016

heritage 4 heritage 3 heritage 1 heriateg 2


It appears the Fremantle Society is on a mission to discredit award-winning City of Fremantle architect and heritage coordinator Alan Kelsall, with the announcement of yet another public event on April 20. The Society president claims that “Heritage staff and Heritage Council staff have spectacularly failed to ensure good outcomes for the West End…” and mentions the former Tarantella building in Mouat Street and the Boost retail outlet on the corner of the High Street Mall as examples.

Fremantle City heritage coordinatorAlan Kelsall was awarded the highest individual heritage award in Western Australia a few weeks ago.

I agree that the new white piping at the Mouat Street building is rubbish and should at least be painted in a colour close to the colour of the brick wall. The ugly B&B signs on the facade are far more of an issue than the pipes on the sides though.

I personally don’t have issues with the Boost shop as it is a modern outlet that does not do any damage to the beautifully restored heritage facade of the Atwell Arcade building.

But when COF staff demands from the B&B in Mouat Street to paint the white plastic tubes it might also want to ask the owner of the Adelaide Steamship Company building opposite in Mouat Street to do the same to the ugly white downpipes at the back of his building. Oops, that building is owned by the Fremantle Society president.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle, heritage by freoview on April 1, 2016

I am truly delighted that City of Fremantle Heritage Coordinator architect Alan Kelsall won the WA Heritage Awards ‘Professional Contribution’ category in the Heritage Practices by a Local Government category.

Alan is a very decent and professional man who does not believe in grandstanding in the local media, unlike his critics. This award has vindicated and endorsed the good work he is doing for heritage in Fremantle.

The judges cited Mr Kelsall’s dedication to promoting a positive image of heritage conservation in Fremantle as a major factor in him winning the award:

 This dedicated professional has been instrumental in assisting the City of Fremantle and its elected representatives to develop and deliver a new positive vision for heritage. By working closely with owners and the community, Alan has demonstrated how adaptation and conservation are complementary objectives that can drive economic sustainability.

Congratulations, Alan. I am chuffed for you!

Roel Loopers


Posted in development, fremantle by freoview on March 18, 2016

office choice development


The owners of the Port Stationary building in Fremantle’s High Street have applied to demolish the building, without showing plans for the development of the site.

The exterior of the building is very bland next to the majestic heritage buildings to the east and west of it, so I personally see no issues with demolishing it. I would however make approval to allow that subject to first seeing the building development plans, otherwise we might end up with an ugly vacant site in the heritage street for years, and that would not be acceptable.

No doubt architect Ben Braham, who is the son of the building owner, could produce a stunning design for a great building that will compliment the streetscape more than the ugly building that is there now.

No demolition without development plans though! We are experiencing what it look like at Point and Queen Adelaide street where buildings were demolished to make way for the Hilton Doubletree hotel development that is now delayed for at least two years, leaving Freo with an ugly site.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, councils, development by freoview on March 11, 2016

Communities, councils and planning experts are getting more and more vocal against inappropriate infill, higher density, and the role the State’s Development Assessment Panels and State Administrative Tribunal play in it.

Already four local councils, including the big City of Vincent, have expressed their dismay about DAPs and want the state government to scrap the process or make it more democratic, because it has a pro-developers bias. The two Councillors on the panels are outnumbered by three public servants, and while developers have the right to challenge the DAP decisions, local councils have not. That is undemocratic.

The Mayor Brad Pettitt Facebook page has a discussion going on about infill, and highly-respected city planner and architect Dr Linley Lutton will argue on Wednesday at UWA that inappropriate infill is destroying communities.

It is disappointing that the  WA Labor party has remained silent on this subject, although I believe it would win them a substantial number of votes if they abandoned the Direction 2031 Liberal party infill targets for more density and the disliked DAPs.

In my personal opinion there is nothing wrong with higher density and higher buildings in the right locations, but the push to have it all happening close to railway stations and public transport corridors is a threat to the lifestyle and unique character of older suburbs such as Fremantle, Subiaco, etc.

It is outrageous that the State agencies overruled Subiaco Council and approved a 16-storey-building on the former market site at Rokeby Road, when council only wants buildings up to eight storeys. Imagine the DAP would have allowed the Atwell Arcade building in Freo to be twice as high and eight storeys instead of four!

The problem of setting indiscriminate infill targets for all local councils is that high density building are popping up in the wrong locations, where they do a lot of damage to the amenity and streetscape and severely and negatively impact on the community. That needs to change!

It is wrong for older suburbs that infill needs to be within walking distance from a train station, when on the outskirts of the CBD there is ample opportunity for higher apartment buildings, and bus routes could be adapted to accommodate more residents in those areas.

I welcome the very substantial development along Fremantle’s Queen Victoria and Beach street and other important new buildings in the CBD, but there is a whole lot more to come with the development of the Woolstores shopping centre site to a possible ten-storey-high mixed use, rumours about the Marilyn New-owned woolstores site at Clancys also talk about substantial height, and the corner of Henry and High street is also on the cards to be developed in the near future, together with the former Workers Club site opposite it.

There is no doubt for me that Fremantle needed development and to modernise and attract more residents to the CBD. It is also essential we build more tourist accommodation in town and I hope that will stop the mad rush of people signing up their homes with Air B&B because that is negatively impacting on neighbours.

It is very good that there is a serious social and mainstream media debate going on about all this, and that some councils are now putting their foot down and say enough is enough, because DAP and SAT are undermining local council democracy, like dictators do with human rights, and that needs to end!

Roel Loopers



Posted in fremantle, heritage by freoview on February 23, 2016

Fremantle has several finalists in this year’s State Heritage Awards so good luck to all of them.

The National Hotel, Fremantle Prison and Shipwreck museum, were short-listed, as was the City of Fremantle in the category Heritage Practices by Local Government. Freo City heritage coordinator Alan Kelsall is also in the final selection in the category Professional Contribution.

Roel Loopers

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