Freo's View

FANTASTIC FREMANTLE FACADES

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, heritage, historic, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on January 21, 2019

 

 

I had a walk around the old town this morning and decided to take photos of some of the gorgeous facades of heritage buildings.

It is what makes Fremantle such a very special and beautiful place to live in and visit.

Roel Loopers

 

WHAT IF FREO DID NOT BUILD THE CIVIC CENTRE AT KINGS SQUARE?

 

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Since I published the article about the Kings Square new Civic Centre yesterday I had some comments saying they like the open space where the Civic Centre is going to be built, and the Fremantle Society is demanding the building should be constructed somewhere else and not at our City square.

Let’s have a pragmatic and realistic look at that.

The City of Fremantle does very likely have contractual obligations with Sirona Capital and the architects, so that would create a major headache.

What would we do with the empty square? Fountains, trees, shade structures, seating, drink water fountains, more CCTV, etc. would cost a lot of money.

A new Civic Centre has to be built and that will cost close to what the one at Kings Square is going to cost. Where would we build it? The City’s properties which are for sale in Quarry Street could probably handle a 2-3 storey Civic Centre, but parking for visitors would be a major headache.

Building the Civic Centre at the also for sale Works Depot site at Knutsford Street would get rid of the parking issues, but is it a good location for a Civic Centre?

And let us not forget that one of the main reasons for the Kings Square Redevelopment Project is activation of the CBD, so would we really want to pull out the around 400 Council workers and the many hundreds of people who go to the library or visit the administration building each week. That seems counter productive to me.

I am well aware of all the grandiose town squares in Europe, but Kings Square has not and will not be like that, because Fremantle does have its own unique character, on which we can build on and modernise, and progress for the future.

It is my understanding that even after the new Civic Centre has been built Kings Square still has more square metres of public open space than Forrest Place in Perth. Correct me if I am wrong.

Roel Loopers

 

 

NEW BRUSH FACTORY, BUT IS IT BEAUTIFUL?

 

 

The fences finally came down along the Brush Factory development on the corner of Duke and George streets in East Fremantle, so I went to have another look at it this morning.

I know that beauty is difficult to quantify because it has different meanings for all of us, but I do find the modern top-level addition on the old building quite intriguing, while some other parts are just not my cup of tea.

I do not like the darkness the dark bricks create along Duke Street, where apartment buildings have been added, and I find that the northern side of development, which faces the old Royal George hotel, has very strange and awkward angles, almost as if much of it was an after-thought that was added to it.

But the epic development of the former Lauder&Howard antiques building has finally been completed and incorporates the Duke of George jazz and blues bar, so it is in part a good addition for the area.

In the meantime graffiti vandals have started to deface the Royal George again and it is still not known if Saracen Properties will go ahead with the development there after all, when they are only allowed to have a seven-storey building behind the former hotel.

Roel Loopers

LOCAL COUNCILS NEED TO REMAIN IN CHARGE OF DEVELOPMENT APPROVAL

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, jdap, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on December 12, 2018

 

Samantha Reece is active in the Fremantle community, and an influencer as part of the new FREO NOW-former BID, so I am rather disappointed with her opinion piece in the property pages of the West Australian today, where she calls for the Joint Development Assessment Panels-JDAP- to do their job better and overrule NIMBY local councils, which refer to their own planning schemes to approve or reject development applications.

Ms Reece is not happy that JDAP did not approve the 16-storey Kintail development in Applecross, where council only want to allow a maximum of 10 storeys.

Reece then also mentions the proposed Fremantle Woolstores development, where additional discretionary height was rejected by Fremantle Council and JDAP because the design was not considered to be of exceptional architectural standards. JDAP has since approved a totally different design with lower height.

If Samantha Reece has her way we might soon see 8-storey buildings in our historic West End, and other totally inappropriate height all over the place.

Roel Loopers

BEAUTIFUL DETAILS OF FREMANTLE

Posted in city of fremantle, photography, Uncategorized by freoview on December 8, 2018

 

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A couple of photos I took in Fremantle’s Henry Street. The colourful gate next to a backpackers and and old door juxtapose quite nicely.

Roel Loopers

FUTURE FACADES OF FREMANTLE’S KINGS SQUARE

 

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The Newman Court facades of the Fremantle Kings Square Redevelopment Project late on Wednesday afternoon.

Roel Loopers

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THE NEW FACE OF KINGS SQUARE

 

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We are getting more and more an idea what the buildings at Fremantle’s Kings Square will look like, with these steel structures now being added to the facade of the former Myer building.

Probuild are working hard for developers Sirona Capital to finish the project on time so that the FOMO retail precinct can open late next year.

 

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GOOD AFFORDABLE PROPOSAL FOR QUARRY STREET

 

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As reported here on Freo’s View yesterday it is unlikely that Fremantle Council will sign off on a scheme amendment that would increase density of City owned lots in Quarry Street to R100, after the local community opposed it during public consultation time.

But positive members of the Fremantle Arts Centre Precinct, including local architect Murray Slavin, are offering an alternative solution for the development of the lots, which are for sale, that would see an increase from R25 to R60 and buildings of only three storeys.

The proposal is for 42 affordable residencies which include small studio apartments and a mix of two and three bedroom apartments that would include renewable energy, developed within a Mutual Not For Profit Structure.

The proposal is specifically designed for low-cost housing and aged care accommodation, with state of the art IT to accommodate on-line data and a health-ready response to enable the comfort and security of seniors.

The proponents believe the site is particularly appropriate for the elderly and less abled because of its proximity to the Fremantle Leisure Centre and Fremantle Arts Centre, Fremantle Park and public transport. All City of Fremantle facilities for the residents would be within walking distance.

The project responds to the desire to downsizing by empty nest seniors and to the national need for low-cost public housing.

The specifically designed seniors’ apartments respond to the need of a simplified independent lifestyle for older Australians-a transition to delay entry into dedicated aged care facilities.

The project would also accommodate a mix of age groups, which would help against social isolation, and to showcase optimum use of renewable energy and water use, and fast evolving new transport developments.

The item about a possible scheme amendment for the City of Fremantle owned properties  are on on the agenda of Wednesday’s Planning Committee, so come along and have your say. It starts at 6pm at the North Fremantle community Hall on Wednesday December 5.

Roel Loopers

THE GLASS IS HALF FULL AT KINGS SQUARE

 

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There is a lot of glass put up at the new Fremantle Kings Square buildings, a development by Sirona Capital.

I must admit that I quite like the minimalism of the building,which replaces the former Queensgate one, with its high and slim widows. The vertical impression is good.

The mount where the Christmas Tree used to be was also flattened this morning to start preparing the soil for the replacement Moreton Bay fig tree.

Roel Loopers

BUILD US HERITAGE OF THE FUTURE!

 

An opinion piece in the West Australian by Suzanne Hunt, the WA president of the Architects Institute of Australia, caught my eye because the headline claims that ‘Architects make great cities’ I don’t believe the architectural reality in Perth can sustain that claim.

Ms Hunt wants architects appointed to the Metronet Reference Group and Infrastructure WA, because in her words It would ensure that local planning incorporates the very best examples of good design. Really?!

Suzanne Hunt also writes that Architects advocate for small policy decisions, which create happier, healthier and more connected suburbs, but that is unfortunately not what most of her colleagues are doing.

Drive and walk through the Perth metro area and you’ll see mostly boring, mediocre and visually unattractive multi-storey buildings, which have little regard for the streetscape and public amenity and which do very little to add new public open spaces with trees.

What we have been getting instead are bland concrete boxes which are often too high and bulky. The ‘creativity’ of the architects is putting cladding or screening on facades to hide the boredom of the actual building. That is make-up only that is trying to hide the flaws.

I get it that architects need to make a living and that the developers they design projects for are mostly interested in getting as much profit-making floor space as possible, and that beauty, aesthetics and great design are not  priorities for them, hence many architects compromise and design average buildings, instead of enhancing our suburbs with creative and inspiring new buildings.

That is the reason why so many of us are against suburban infill, not necessarily because of the proposed hight and bulk, but because we want to retain the unique character of older places like Fremantle, and that means we want heritage of the future in outstanding and beautiful buildings, not mediocrity.

Roel Loopers

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