Freo's View

TERRACE HOUSING BETTER INFILL FOR FREMANTLE

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on May 23, 2018

 

M:Group North Coogee

 

Depending on City of Cockburn planning approval the North Coogee Shoreline development should see some interesting architecture inspired by the Donnybrook Quarter in London.

MATCH of the M/Group intends to build 2-3 storey terrace houses along intimate streets that end in a city square there.

It’s the kind of development I would love to see more of in Fremantle, rather than high apartment buildings.

Fremantle is the ideal place for terrace housing as urban infill, instead of boring highrise.

Roel Loopers

GIVE ME FREO OVER PERTH ANY TIME!

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, city planning, development, perth, retail, Uncategorized by freoview on May 22, 2018

 

ca 6

 

 

I lasted just over an hour in Perth this morning as I find the CBD there rather boring.

I was surprised how quiet it was and how many vagrants were lurking around, and there were ample retail vacancies and for lease signs all over the place. Buskers played amplified music way too loud and so did some of the cafes.

Most of the new buildings under construction are average or worse, and the inappropriateness in context to heritage buildings is staggering.

The saving grace was the gorgeous tranquil architecture of the Cadogan Singing School at St George’s cathedral, and the stunning new Perth Library where window cleaners were doing a high trapeze act.

So happy to be back in Fremantle. It’s far from perfect, but so much more beautiful than the Perth CBD.

Roel Loopers

STUNNING FREMANTLE HERITAGE REFLECTION

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, heritage, maritime, photography, Uncategorized by freoview on May 17, 2018

 

reflection 1

 

Regular readers of Freo’s View know that I love taking photos of reflections. I do it ‘to keep my eye in’ and to always be very observant and aware of my surroundings.

I took the photo above this morning in Cliff Street of the Mediterranean Shipping Company-MSC building reflected in the roof and windscreen of a red car. It’s upside down of course.

Fremantle Heritage Week is on next week, so check out the printed program. They are available at the Roundhouse, Fremantle Library and elsewhere.

Roel Loopers

SUNRISE IN FREO’S HISTORIC WEST END

 

High Street sunrise 1

High Street sunrise 2

MSC

 

It was pretty chilly this morning at sunrise and a few passers by must have thought the bearded old fellow in short sleeves was suffering from dementia, but it was all for the sake of photography.

I so much love Fremantle’s historic High Street and the entire West End. It always looks gorgeous, but even more so at sunset and sunrise.

Roel Loopers

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GOOD ENOUGH NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR FREMANTLE

Posted in architecture, buildings, city of fremantle, city planning, development, Uncategorized by freoview on April 28, 2018

 

It is rather strange that the Fremantle Herald front page this week features a letter to the editor about JDAP rejecting the Woolstores shopping centre site development plans, instead of publishing an editorial about it.

There is little reason for the Fremantle Society president to gloat about the JDAP decision because it would not be in the interest of Fremantle if the development plans are abandoned. However Silverleaf Investments also need to be aware that second best and it’s good enough will not be accepted in Fremantle.

To realise Fremantle’s rejuvenation, that will hopefully kick start the economic recovery, we need development investors like the Match Group, Sirona Capital, Silverleaf, and others, but they know Fremantle Council is so desperate for new development that developers think that just about anything will be accepted.

The Fremantle Society during my presidency fought tooth and nail to stop PSA 49 but pressure from the then owners suddenly saw Council approve 11 storeys on the Woolstores site, when Mayor Brad Pettitt had only days before expressed he would not vote for double digit development, so nine storeys would be the maximum.

But PSA 49 was very clearly about only granting additional discretionary height if development was of excellent design quality, and the Woolstores plans, rejected by Fremantle Council and the WA Joint Development Assessment Panel-JDAP, clearly were not.

It appears that developers and architects still have not got the message that the Fremantle community demands creative and innovative design, and sadly Fremantle Council, JDAP and the State Administrative Tribunal also still have not got that point, as they have too often allowed mediocre development that is hurting Fremantle’s unique character. Council is so desperate to achieve rejuvenation of the inner city and economic recovery that it overlooked design flaws, out of fear of upsetting developers.

The new Sirona Capital buildings at Kings Square are not outstanding and neither is the planned and approved Hilton Doubletree hotel development on the Point Street carpark site. The LIV development along Queen Victoria Street is repetitive boredom and the Quarry Street side of it is architecturally so unresolved that it hurts my eyes and soul.

In the development pipeline are also the already approved very boring eight storey development next to the Australia Hotel and the equally uninspiring Little Lane development on the former Spotlight site next to Target.

I do get it that developers want to make as much money as they can and I don’t have a problem with that, but the JDAP rejection of the Woolstores proposal should send a clear message that if you want more money making floorspace and height you will need to offer Fremantle something special and unique.

Not only did Fremantle’s Design Advisory Committee expert panel express that the Woolstores design was not excellent, so did the three architects who spoke for the Fremantle Society, and other architects JDAP panel member Councillor Rachel Pemberton consulted had the same opinion.

I also talked to three well-known local architects in Fremantle who told me the composition and balance of the plans were all wrong and that piecemeal changes to the design would not lift it to the highest architectural standards required to receive the bonus height.

Fremantle wants and needs development. I love modern architecture and am not off the opinion that no new development in Fremantle should be above six storeys, but like most people in the community I want to see the wow factor when it comes to new buildings here.

It is very disappointing, and I agree here with the Fremantle Society president, that the Chamber of Commerce keeps supporting any development plans, no matter how inappropriate and uninspiring. For the Chamber the motto seems to be Any shit will do as long as it is new. I expect higher standards from our business leaders.

The rubbish that is often proposed might not do great harm in Cockburn or Joondalup but it would make Fremantle a lot less attractive to visitors from all over the world. The community will not accept that and developers, architects, Fremantle Council, JDAP and SAT should listen to us!

Roel Loopers

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JDAP REJECTS FREMANTLE WOOLSTORES DEVELOPMENT

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on April 18, 2018

 

The 38.9 metre high proposal for the development of the Fremantle Woolstores shopping centre site by Silverleaf Investments was this morning unanimously rejected by the five members of the South West Joint Development Assessment Panel-JDAP.

The Fremantle Society had brought the big guns with architects Ken Adams, Ian Molyneux and Sasha Ivanovich all stating that the development was inappropriate for the location and the design was not of exceptionally high standards to allow additional discretionary height.

Silverleaf’s Gerard O’Brien expressed his frustration and angrily said that he was gutted that the development might not go ahead after spending so much time and over $ 2 million dollars on it already.

“I have been misled all the way” O’Brien thundered, and that it was hard to stomach for a small business. “What do we expect Fremantle to be? What does the public want? We wanted to create something for Fremantle!”

There was a lot of talk that the building should relate to its context and that the scale did negatively impact on the heritage surroundings. Fremantle is globally a unique place!

The design of the proposal was considered to be at best very ordinary, according to architect Ken Adams and that it poorly related to the streetscape.

Former Perth City architect Craig Smith sent his assessment that the applicants had addressed all the issues brought up by the Fremantle City Design Advisory Committee. While the DAC suddenly wanted the hotel tower to be set back there were no setbacks required in the planning scheme. Smith believes there is no rational reason to set back the hotel from Queen Street.

DAC chair Geoffrey London said the decision of exceptional design was made by the collective judgment of an expert group of people, but one of the JDAP panel members said he believed there was a high degree of subjectivity.

There was short adjournment for CoF planning staff to give additional confidential information to the JDAP panel members, so no idea what that was all about as it did not change anything.

Councillor Rachel Pemberton said that the vision behind controversial Planning Scheme Amendment 49 was to give developers the option of getting more height allowance as long as they offered superior standard design. I don’t want to relax that requirement, she said.

One of the JDAP members rightly stated that the East CBD part of the city was very run down and that investment in that area was crucial for Fremantle’s development. Maybe there was too much concern about the design quality. “Who is going to invest in this type of scale when the process is so intimidating?”

COMMENT:

While I agree that the building design is definitely not exceptional I still believe this is a loss for Fremantle. If Silverleaf Investments pulls out of this development Fremantle will end up with the very ugly and mediocre shopping centre site for many years to come and that is a disaster for the rejuvenation plans for the inner city.

There is little guarantee that the Hilton Doubletree development will happen, so then all we might get is the eight-storey Little Lane development next to Target.

I really hope Gerard O’Brien will not chuck all his efforts in the bin and walk away from his plans to develop the site, and that he will give it one more good try to get the height he believes he commercially needs and Fremantle gets the iconic landmark building it wants there. PLEASE!!

Roel Loopers

 

ROYAL GEORGE TOWER REVEALED

 

 

 

I received these artist’s impressions of the proposed new slim tower behind the Royal George hotel in East Fremantle from developers Saracen Properties.

The developers plan to fully renovate the beautiful heritage listed Royal George for tourist accommodation, a gin distillery, bar, restaurants, etc.

They also want to build a 15 storey elliptical spike set on a four storey podium along Duke Street, and create a community square between the former Brush Factory building and the Royal George.

The architect for the project is highly-regarded Michael Patroni of the Fremantle spaceagency.

Roel Loopers

 

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

 

FREO THINKS BIG ABOUT SMALL HOUSING

Posted in city of fremantle, housing, lifestyle, living, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on March 29, 2018

 

I am a bit lazy because of the flu and fever I have, so just some points I copied from this media release  by the City, as I could not attend last evening’s committee meeting:

The City of Fremantle has given its final approval to a ground-breaking new approach to infill housing in suburban areas, called the ‘Freo Alternative – Big Thinking about Small Housing’.

Council last night voted to change the City’s Local Planning Scheme and adopt a new planning policy to stimulate development of a wider choice of housing in Fremantle’s suburban areas while still maintaining what people value about their neighbourhoods.

State government has set density targets across the metropolitan area to cater for population growth and limit urban sprawl, but poorly planned or inappropriate infill developments are often met with a backlash from local residents, and don’t always match housing needs.

The proposed planning scheme amendment and policy will now be sent to the Minister for Planning for final determination.

The Freo Alternative is the result of more than three years of research and community engagement. Because of the widespread concern about the impact of infill development in our suburbs, Fremantle wanted to create a shared community vision of the future of housing in the city

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said “We needed to come up with a way of delivering more diverse and affordable housing while retaining the established form and feel of the streestcapes and neighbourhoods that people love about where they live.”

The Freo Alternative project began in 2014 when the Australian Urban Design Research Centre and local architects were engaged to model different small housing types and test if they could work in a Fremantle environment.

That was followed in 2016 with a widespread community engagement campaign to establish what attributes the community most valued about their suburb and the benefits and challenges of small housing types.

The key themes to emerge from the consultation included having a range of housing choices, good access to transport, retention of open spaces and trees, good quality design, sustainability, affordability and encouraging community interaction.

The proposed amendment to Fremantle’s Local Planning Scheme establishes seven special control areas throughout the suburbs with special provisions for small infill development, as an alternative to traditional single lot subdivision.

Key provisions include:

Only applies to lots larger than 600 square metres
Dwellings to have a maximum floor area of 120 square metres
Maximum of three dwellings on lots of 750 square metres or less
Minimum of 30 square metres of outdoor living area per dwelling
Developments to have higher than standard energy efficiency ratings, and include solar panels, rainwater tanks, grey water systems or meet best practice accessibility standards
A minimum of 70 per cent of the entire development to be open space
At least one large tree to be retained or planted for each dwelling
A maximum of one parking bay per dwelling
Developments to be referred to the City’s Design Advisory Committee to consider design quality.

Freo Alternative will initially be applied to specific locations within the City of Fremantle, in sections of White Gum Valley, Samson, Hilton, O’Connor, Beaconsfield and Fremantle that meet certain criteria regarding proximity to public transport, existing lot size and housing stock, and heritage streetscapes.

To be reviewed in four years, Freo Alternative may then be rolled out across further locations.

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COOL PROPOSAL FOR PARRY STREET

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on March 17, 2018

 

Parry 1

Parry 2

 

Finally a building application for Fremantle that passes my visual beauty test.

The plans for a four-storey mixed-use development at 18-26 Parry Street look pretty cool and different to me.

It will be tourist and residential apartment accommodation and cafe.

Check it all out at Have Your Say on the City of Fremantle website.

Roel Loopers

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