Freo's View

NOTRE DAME WITHDRAWS NURSING SCHOOL PLANS

Posted in city of fremantle, education, notre dame university, Uncategorized by freoview on June 16, 2017

I received this media statement from Fremantle Notre Dame University Vice Chancellor Celia Hammond and publish it in full.

I have highlighted some essential parts of it in bold.

 

Media Statement
For immediate release: Friday 16 June 2017
RE: Proposed School of Nursing & Midwifery building – 3-5 High Street ______________________________________________________________________________

In November 2016 The University of Notre Dame Australia announced plans for a new development at 3-5 High Street in Fremantle to house its successful and highly rated School of Nursing & Midwifery. Notre Dame’s architects and planners worked to a brief designed to provide the best possible facilities for students, to maximise street activation of the West End precinct and retain the existing heritage façade. Advice from the Heritage Council of Western Australia and the Fremantle Design Advisory Committee was sought and incorporated throughout the design process.

The University was enthusiastic about the resulting development and what it would bring for the future education of our students. The University was also mindful that the site is historically significant, and represents a key element in the continuing revitalisation of Fremantle’s West End.

Following consideration by the Fremantle Council, the University adjourned its subsequent application before the Joint Development Assessment Panel. The purpose of the adjournment was to consider matters raised by the Council (both in reports and discussions) and independently, by the community and community bodies. In addition, the University engaged the TPG Place
Match group to undertake further independent consultation regarding the proposed development.

As a result of this detailed consultation, and following thorough consideration of all feedback, the University has decided not to proceed with its current plan and to withdraw its current application for planning approval.

The University would like to thank all those who have contributed to this discussion. We have listened to, and taken account of, all feedback – both critical and complimentary. This has not only helped us reach our decision not to proceed with the current plan, but excited us about the potential for this building.

The University does therefore remain committed to this development and to ensuring that our nursing and midwifery students have access to state-of-the-art learning facilities. We also remain committed to our role as a key member of the Fremantle community, in developing a building that is architecturally and historically significant, sensitive to heritage, and an important contributor to the continuing revitalisation of the West End of Fremantle.

We will be releasing information about the next steps in relation to this development in the coming weeks.

 

FREO WANTS CREATIVE ARCHITECTURE

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

 

 

One of the pleasures of living in Fremantle is that one bumps into many people when one wanders the streets, so I was delighted to have a coffee and chat with architect Murray Slavin on the weekend, when he was walking his great dog that loves carrots.

Of course  when Murray and I catch up architecture and development in Fremantle is on the agenda.

I have been thinking for quite a few years why it is that modern development in Fremantle is mainly functional and often not very attractive. We get concrete square boxes instead of heritage of the future buildings.

Too many modern buildings lack attention to detail, there is no softness, no round shapes, just 90 degree corner angles. There are no features and no accentuation of great craftsmanship.

I am not suggesting at all that I would like to see mock heritage, but why don’t developers build small spikes, cupolas, towers, verandahs instead of boring awnings, different shaped  balconies and windows.

Why are there not more architectural features that become the new public art and are part of the building, instead of adding-sometimes inappropriate-art as an after thought.

And why is an eight-storey building just that and hardly ever a building that varies in height and becomes more attractive that way? A roof garden does not have to be on the top, it could be part of the third or fourth floor.

Facades of large development should be split up so that it looks as if there is more than just the one building and it creates a rhythm along the streetscape.

Existing streetscapes are mostly ignored and not respected in this selfie-period of architecture and look at me design, rather that adding to the spatial realm.

Unfortunately planning rules are very restrictive and local governments can’t really not approve building because they are not beautiful enough. I hope state government will improve the rules before we end up with a visual disaster.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE ARCHITECTURE AND MULTICULTURALISM

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on May 30, 2017

The controversial and often mediocre development proposals we get in Fremantle made me contemplate what good and acceptable architecture for our city is.

Some people say it is just personal taste, and the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce is quite happy to accept higher and architecturally average buildings in the historic West End than the planning scheme allows, because for them it is all about activation and revitalising the retail and hospitality economy. Will ugliness really achieve that?

Developing a city is much more than just adding new modern buildings and trying to push-start the economy with mediocrity for short-term gain.

Good architecture is like successful immigration and the integration into a multicultural society. It is about respecting and enhancing the diversity, blending in while retaining one’s culture, and making a positive difference to the community one joins. It’s about being considerate and accepting one comes into and adds to an established society, a streetscape, a history.

Architecture should be about respecting and enhancing the streetscape and blending in with what is already there. It is about accepting and respecting the history of place and the unique character a city like Fremantle has.

That does not mean we can’t have iconic buildings that make a statement about how good modern architecture can be, but it should not be about architects showing off their ego and ignoring the heritage significance of place.

It is telling and refreshing that Notre Dame University took the concerns of the community and Fremantle Council serious and will now redesign the new School of Nursing they want to build on the corner of Cliff and High streets. It shows real consideration and maturity, and the willingness to compromise to achieve a better outcome for Fremantle. That is what respect for one’s community should be all about!

Development should not be about trying to ram unacceptable ugly and too high buildings through at the W.A. Development Assessment Panel or State Administrative Tribunal, but it should be about making Fremantle even more beautiful and special, and outstanding modern architecture will do that.

Developers who want to come to Fremantle need to engage architects who acknowledge and respect that our city is different and unique and that there is greatness in detail, diversity of heights and splitting up facades, so that modern buildings do not look too massive in our low-rise environment.

Boring concrete boxes are just not on. They are proof of lazy, disrespectful architects and lack of creativity. We don’t want or need them in Freo!

When we cook we don’t just throw things in a pot and hope that somehow it will become a great meal. We carefully blend ingredients and spices to create the wow factor around the table and impress our guests. That is what architects need to do in Fremantle, because a lamb korma pizza with with mayo, tofu and pineapple, topped with Chinese dumplings won’t impress too many people.

To ignore Freo’s history when one designs new buildings for our city is ignoring that trees can’t survive without their roots. Our past is part of us and shapes our future.

Roel Loopers

FREO HEIRLOOM WINS STATE HERITAGE AWARD

Posted in development, fremantle, heirloom by match, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on May 27, 2017

 

The Fremantle HEIRLOOM by MATCH residential development at Queen Victoria Street has won two categories in last night’s annual WA Heritage Council awards for adaptive reuse of a heritage building.

It won the Gerry Gauntlett award for excellence in conservation and also the adaptive reuse award

MATCH converted the former Dalgety Woolstores building, that was built in 1923. into 183 residential units.

The judges said that the building was a testament to the dedication and financial commitment of MATCH and they had used innovative solutions.

The Heirloom development was financially supported by Sirona Capital, which will start the Kings Square Project in the next few weeks, helping to rebuild the Fremantle economy.

Hillcrest in North Fremantle received a commendation for the conservation work done on it.

Roel Loopers

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HERITAGE FESTIVAL CONNECTS US TO THE PAST

Posted in city of fremantle, conversation, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on May 26, 2017

 

townhall 3

 

 

The Fremantle Heritage Festival starts today with the unveiling of the sublime conservation work of the Townhall at 11.30 am. All are welcome and a historic group photo will be taken, so come along!

In the 32 years I have been in the west I have never seen the Townhall look so splendid. It is now an eye-catching icon for visitors and locals to enjoy.

When in two years the Kings Square development has been finished our city square will be a modern showcase that embraces the beautiful Townhall.

The Heritage Festival program is extensive so get a printed copy at the library or Roundhouse, or check it on the City’s website and Facebook.

Great historic Freo photos at the relaunch of Old Fremantle, a book by Fremantle Society President John Dowson. They are on display at Kidogo Arthouse at Bathers Beach. Don’t miss it! Perfect coffee table book and good presents for all who love Fremantle and history.

Roel Loopers

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SHIFTING GOALPOSTS NOT COMMUNITY PROBLEM

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on May 25, 2017

Fremantle Council deferred a decision last night on the application by developers Silverleaf to not go ahead with adding more fritted glass screens to the building, as was agreed on in the planning approval.

The planning officers and Design Advisory Committee wanted Council to  reject the application but an amendment by Councillor Rachel Pemberton is trying to find a compromise.

Pemberton said she was concerned and tried to understand the practical reality of not adding the glass screens, but it is the the original approved plans so why wasn’t it done? But there is no harm done to see if a good compromise can be found.

The DAC said it is very disappointed with the amended proposal as it spent considerable time with the proponent, and a number of design outcomes were negotiated and considered necessary components that lead to the DAC’s conditional approval of the building.

The DAC believes the fritted glass screens address the scale and massing by making the detail behind the glass less legible.

Silverleaf owner Gerard O’Brien said the developer had spent more money into details such as tuck pointing the facades in High and Cantonment streets and that he had been advised by the builders that retrospect adding of the fritted glass screens would be difficult.

I don’t mind the building as it kind of floats over the old facades and the fritted glass screens definitely help to give it that appearance of softness, so I would like to see the developer stick to the plans Fremantle Council approved. They made it more difficult for themselves, and probably more costly now, by not adhering to the plans and making unapproved changes as they went along.

I do understand the triple bottom line and Silverleaf at present developing eight major sites in different councils, but at the end of the day if developers move the goal posts during construction that is a decision they have to live with and pay for. The community should not be told that it is too expensive and troublesome now to do what they agreed on in the first place when they applied for planning approval from council.

Roel Loopers

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NOTRE DAME REDESIGN NURSING SCHOOL

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, heritage, notre dame university, Uncategorized by freoview on May 23, 2017

Fremantle Notre Dame University Vice Chancellor Celia Hammond announced at a small community meeting about the proposed five-storey new Nursing School building in High Street that UNDA will not try to seek approval from the WA Development Assessment Panel, but will redesign the building instead.

The proposal was strongly criticised by the Fremantle community and West End residents and rejected by Fremantle Council because the design quality and height were deemed inappropriate for and disrespectful to the historic West End. The Fremantle Chamber of Commerce approved of the building.

The Vice Chancellor emphasised that Notre Dame is part of the West End and the Freo community and she did not want to put a building up that the community rejected.

From the first day I heard Celia Hammond speak during a Leaders Luncheon at the Esplanade Hotel years ago I have been impressed with her and how genuine she is. She has again shown very strong leadership on a contentious issue and she and UNDA deserve to be congratulated for it.

The small community round table talk was organised by TGP who have been contracted by UNDA to independently assess the pros and cons of the new School of Nursing and Midwifery.

Members of the Fremantle Inner City Residents Association were present, as were the CEO of the Chamber of Commerce, the president of the Fremantle Society, architect Murray Slavin and myself.

Roel Loopers

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NOTRE DAME APPOINTS WEST END CONSULTANTS

Fremantle Notre Dame University has appointed the recently merged TPG+Place Match group to undertake further independent consultation in regard to the proposed development of a new Nursery and Midwifery School on the corner of High and Cliff streets.

The five-storey  development was rejected for approval by Fremantle Council  because it exceeds the three-storey limit for the heritage-listed West End Precinct, and because of its inappropriate and poor design quality.

The deciding authority for the building is the WA Development Assessment Panel but UNDA adjourned the approval process to make changes to the building after strong community objections.

It will be interesting to see if UNDA will abandon their plans for an, in my opinion un-approvable, five storey building and alter the design to make its architecture more sympathetic and respectful to the heritage streetscape, or if they will go ahead and apply for approval of a five-story building at the DAP.

This from the TPG+Place Match website:

  • Stakeholder and community engagement
  • Place visioning and narrative
  • Strategic and statutory planning
  • Urban design and place planning
  • Heritage and cultural planning
  • Place branding and promotion
  • Community development
  • Place activation 

TPG+Place Match have a track record of working together on several high profile place-led projects, including the Perth Cultural Centre Place Plan, the Curtin University Place Activation project and several regional revitalisation and enhancement projects in Bunbury, Morawa and Esperance.

Since its inception in 2011, Place Match has become WA’s most sought after place making firm, offering niche expertise in place visioning and branding, destination planning, place activation and management.  The firm has breathed new life and added significant value to places across Perth city, suburban areas and into regional WA.

Roel Loopers

ATWELL ARCADE CHANGES NOT SUPPORTED

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on May 2, 2017

 

Fremantle Atwell Arcade developers Silverleaf are seeking alterations to the initial approval of the building from the City of Fremantle, but the changes are not supported by the City’s planning department and Design Advisory Committee.

Silverleaf wants to remove two levels of fritted glass panels on the north east and south east of the building and also some on the south of the building.

The wording of the Design Advisory Committee advise appears to be one of annoyance with the developers trying to get changes approved when the building is already occupied:

  •   DAC is very disappointed with this amended proposal. As part of the process of design evaluation, DAC spent considerable time working on key aspects of the design with the proponent. A number of design outcomes were negotiated and were considered as necessary components leading to the DAC conditional support of the proposal and its massing and form.
  •   The fritted glazing was incorporated into the original design to help address the issue of scale and massing of the additions by making the detail behind the glass less legible and therefore allowing the visible building bulk to be read as more ‘ephemeral’.
  •   The built outcome is the negation of what was negotiated and agreed, the opposite of what the DAC had been led to believe would be provided.
  •   The provision of the balustrading to the street parapet was recognised as an important component of the promised heritage contribution.
  •   DAC is unwilling to accept that these design components, agreed by the proponent and necessary for DAC’s initial support, should be deleted because of cost.
  •   In summary, DAC does not support any of the proposed changes to the fritted glazing and screening, nor the deletion of the balustrade, all critical parts of the negotiated outcome that led to DAC supporting the project. DAC believes the project should be completed in the form that it supported and on which the DA was approved.

It is interesting to note that design changes are quite often proposed by developers after the City has given building approval and often cost are given as the reason for the changes.

Silverleaf is a huge property owner in Fremantle and they are going to develop the Woolstores Shopping Centre site, the Henderson Street Police and Courthouse precinct and the Manning Arcade, so it is very important that the developers realise they can’t get away with late changes after the horse has bolted. They need to budget better so cost don’t become an issue well into the development process.

I like it that Silverleaf does not land bank and that they quickly develop the properties they buy, but they also need to be aware of their corporate responsibilities to the community. It is not helpful that they express frustration with Fremantle Council and the DAC when Council and the expert panel insist on better design, because developers trying to cut corners and getting away with average buildings is not acceptable to the Fremantle community.

Developers often behave as if we owe them gratitude for developing in Fremantle, and I for one am delighted about so many new buildings in the CBD, but trying to get approval for un-approvable buildings is becoming a bit of a norm, with five storeys proposed for the West End when only three are permitted, and with design quality that should see architects publicly flogged for daring to suggest boring mediocrity that is disrespectful to Fremantle’s unique heritage character.

Silverleaf is good for Fremantle but only if they create stunning new inner city buildings instead of blandness. The fritted glass panelling on the Atwell Arcade makes the multi-storey building appear a lot softer and it blends better into the sky. Those plans were approved by Council and the developers now need to fulfil their part of the ‘contract’ with the City of Fremantle and not expect late changes.

The item is on the CoF Planning Committee agenda for this Wednesday at 6 pm.

Roel Loopers

 

GREAT ROYAL GEORGE HOTEL NEWS

Posted in architecture, development, east fremantle, fremantle, Uncategorized by freoview on April 19, 2017

 

g 5

 

I have received some great news about the Royal George Hotel in East Fremantle from a well-informed source.

According to my source Saracen Properties is 99% on the way of purchasing the building from the State Government. The purchase and possession will be finalised within the next 90 days.

Saracen has appointed well-known Fremantle architect Michael Patroni from Space Agency to do the interior and exterior development of the old building as well as the development of the vacant land behind the building.

Saracen has developed a Conservation Management Strategy that has been endorsed by the Heritage Council of W.A. The CMS ties them to refurbishing the building within a certain time period.

The company will immediately stabilise and clean up the building once the contract has been signed, so the decay will be stopped, until planning approval has been received and conservation and building can commence.

Roel Loopers

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