Freo's View




Fremantle architect Kerry Hill has died at the age of 75 in Singapore where he was partly based.

Hill is the architect of the new civic centre at Kings Square that will be built in the next twelve months and is a multi-award winning architect.

The quietly spoken Hill, always dressed in black, won the Australian Institute of Architects’ Gold Medal in 2006 and the Singapore President’s Award in 2010.

He was awarded the Officer of the Order of Australia(AO) in 2012.

Roel Loopers


Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on July 20, 2018


The City of Fremantle has appointed new members to the Design Advisory Committee that advises the Council on development matters. They are:

Mr Eamon Broderick (4 year term ending 30 June 2022) – new member
Ms Jennie Officer (4 year term) – new member
Mr Dominic Snellgrove (4 year term) – reappointment of previous member
Mr Sam Klopper (2 year term ending 30 June 2020) – new member
Mr Geoffrey London (2 year term) – reappointment of previous member

Deputy Members
Mr Patrick Kosky (4 year term) – reappointment of previous member
Ms Melinda Payne (2 year term) – reappointment of previous member

The appointments have been made in accordance with revised Terms of Reference for the DAC approved by the Council in May this year. One of the amendments to the terms of reference was to alter the length of time members will serve for, so that half the membership of the DAC will change every two years, rather than all members ending their term of office at the same time as has been the case up until now. The City believes this new arrangement will achieve a better balance between the benefits of experienced members who provide continuity of advice whilst also providing opportunity for new members to bring fresh points of view and different experience to the work of the DAC.

The DAC appoints its own Chair, and this will be done at the first meeting of the new committee on 30 July.

Roel Loopers





Fremantle Council Planning Committee recommended to JDAP to reject the plans by Silverleaf Investments for the Woolstores shopping centre site, with an amendment to state that council very much would like to see this proposal go ahead as long as the proponent makes the changes recommended by Fremantle’s Design Advisory Committee-DAC.

There was clear frustration in the air from both sides with Councillor Ingrid Waltham expressing that everyone on council and in the community wanted good development happening in that area. She said Councillors were lay people and not architect and hence they had to take the advise of the DAC. “This has the potential of becoming an iconic landmark.”

The clearly frustrated architect for the developers flicked page by page stating the DAC recommended this and we did it, they recommended that and we changed it,….. He was quite irate, and rightly so, that the DAC at their last meeting with them had been complimentary about the changes but now had come out of the blue with a new recommendation of a substantial set back for the massive hotel component.

Public speakers said that many architects around Perth did not believe the design warranted exceptional quality design status. One of them was certain that the plans would not be approved by any other council, but that is hypothetical bollocks.

From my personal experience with architects, and I worked for very many as a commercial photographer, is that they rarely like another architect’s work. Many creatives unfortunately are like that.

I also wonder if it would have been better to conditionally approve the development plans with the condition that the recommendations from the DAC need to be implemented. It would send a message to the developers that Fremantle Council is serious about wanting approval for the hotel development but insists on getting outstanding architecture on the site.

The main problem is that Exceptional Design has not been defined in the planning rules, so it comes back to personal taste and preference by the public and architects. Councillor Jon Strachan said that the concept of exceptional design is nebulous.

A fact that should not be overlooked is that if Silverleaf Investments, in frustration about the constant delays, moves its money to another development Fremantle could end up with the ugly shopping centre building for many more years and that definitely is not the desired outcome.

The WA Joint Development Assessment Panel-JDAP will rule on the planning proposal in due course, so stay tuned.

Roel Loopers



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



Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, planning, Uncategorized by freoview on July 7, 2017


I just noted on Twitter that Fremantle architects and city planners CODA are celebrating their fifth anniversary, so happy birthday from me!

The Tweet reads: CODA 3.0 : frantic + fun 5 years in which we celebrated the delivery of public work, an expanded design team and our move into central Freo!

I am a fan of CODA and have been impressed with the work they have been doing and the very good community consultation projects they have been involved with in Fremantle.

The one project that stands out for me were the many sessions for Fremantle Ports about the Victoria Quay development. CODA director Kieran Wong was excellent and showed that leaving ones ego as home results in better outcomes.

Roel Loopers



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



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



There have been a few comments in regard to yesterday’s article about Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt declaring a conflict of interest on the Sunset Events proposal for J Shed because his partner works at CODA, the architect consultants for Sunset for that project.

Brad Pettitt has responded stating that legal advise he received pointed out that now that his partner has moved in with him, she is legally his de-facto and hence the conflict of interest. She is by the way not a CODA director, as far as I am aware

Those who believe it would have been more transparent if the Mayor had declared earlier that he was in relationship with a CODA employee do have a point, but before throwing stones should check the rules and regulation for Councillors in the Local Government Act.

I have no issues with the debate and people criticising elected members, but I want to make it absolutely clear that CODA should not be tarred with anything as they have done nothing wrong and only tendered for City of Fremantle contracts.

CODA are a very professional and reputable architect and city planning company that has received national awards. I have had the pleasure of dealing with CODA director Kieran Wong on several occasions during community or stakeholder sessions on Victoria Quay, Kings Square and Cantonment Hill and was very impressed with how thorough Kieran was.

Wong is a very likeable person who does not bring a big ego to meetings and does not patronise and talk down to people. He gives you the facts, the opportunities and limitations and then he carefully listens and takes on board suggestions and ideas. That was clearly shown when he delivered three options for Victoria Quay, and while the preferred plans by Fremantle Ports don’t please everyone, CODA did a very good job in my opinion.

The reality of commercial life is that people work with those they feel comfortable with and who will bring the desired outcomes, so there might well be a slight bias at the City administration toward CODA because they worked on projects together before. That happens in other departments and government agencies as well. For example Fremantle Ports has used the same graphic designer, Acorn, for twenty years although every 3-4 years the contract goes out to tender. It is clear there is a preference toward that company but that does not in any way indicates anyone goes to bed with anyone.

I photographed for 11 years for the Midland Redevelopment Authority, 13 years for Fremantle Ports, 8 years for the State Energy Commission and had many other lengthy assignments for government departments and agencies without bribing anyone or having relationships or affairs with staff, so let’s chill about it.

I believe it is good that the City of Fremantle uses highly professional and experienced local consultants instead of people from interstate. If anyone believes proper tender process has not been followed at the City of Fremantle it is best to send questions to the new CEO Phil StJohn. And let me point out yet again that Mayor Brad Pettitt can not make decisions like granting contracts on his own. Full Council does make decisions for the City of Fremantle, not individual elected members!

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, development, fremantle, heritage, western australia by freoview on May 11, 2016


While I am delighted about the development boom in Fremantle I sometimes despair about the  mediocre design and lack of flair and creativity.

Two buildings in progress do have an impact on the heritage ambience of our city and the Quest Hotel development on the corner of Pakenham and Short streets is in my opinion awful and unacceptable.

The reason discretionary extra height was given by Fremantle Council was to retain the interior heritage character of the building. My understanding was it would only go one floor up, but this ugliness is massively towering over the heritage building and the adjoining one. Boooh!

I personally have fewer issues with the Atwell Arcade development as it is more subtle, albeit it bland. They have continued the vertical aspects of the heritage building and the panelling has softened the impact on the streetscape. The fact that the building is angled away from the High Street mall also makes it less intrusive.

The worst view is probably from the Queens Street carpark where the ugly aircon and lift shaft dominate, but the parking lot is part of Planning Scheme Amendment 49 so will no doubt be developed some time and obscure the view to the Atwell new building.

I am all for new development in Fremantle but please do show some consideration and respect for the heritage character of our city, architects, designers and developers. Cheap is not always best and you do have a corporate responsibility!

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, development, fremantle ports by freoview on April 9, 2016



There is an interesting report by Kent Acott in the weekend West Australian today about the City of Fremantle’s plans for Victoria Quay, which the consultants call South Quay.

The report by MacroPlan Demasi for the City of Fremantle is interesting because it basically is nothing new and the plans ‘revealed’ have been debated for quite some time in Fremantle.

The report wants waterfront homes and a cruise ship terminal of international standards and claims it could make the State Government $ 946 millions over twenty years.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt told the West Australian that this could be a special project for the W.A. bicentennial celebrations in 2029.

During the Victoria Quay development community consultations the idea of a convention centre, entertainment area, retail, office space, etc. all came up, so I see no need to again pay an external consultant fees for this and reinvent the wheel. With the present buffer zones in place residential or hotel development along Victoria Quay is not possible.

There are extensive plans by Fremantle Ports for Victoria Quay designed after very good community consultation by Fremantle based architects CODA. This involved stakeholders such as the City of Fremantle, Public Transport Authority, Chamber of Commerce, etc, so why the COF needed another report is hard to understand. I wonder if we will be told how much the report cost Fremantle ratepayers.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, development by freoview on November 10, 2015

The Planning Institute of Australia last night awarded the Fremantle White Gum Valley project the Best Planning Ideas-Small Project and Planning Minister’s Award.

The project is a collaboration between Landcorp, Freo’s CODA architects, URBIS and the City of Fremantle.

The judges said the development exemplifies a unique urban infill project through collaboration between a developer, local government and the community. It was praised for its ability to demonstrate the economic, environmental, and social benefits of sustainable development.

Roel Loopers

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