It is good to see the fast progress of the Fremantle ATWELL ARCADE development. Scaffolding went up today at the front in the High Street mall while at the back a big hole has been created for the foundations.
This is not going to be the best looking development in the Freo CBD but it is an essential one to start the economic revitalisation of our city.
I often wonder about the lack of colour on new buildings, as I believe there needs to be contrast between the mainly white concrete buildings. A splash of colour here and there will make a lot of difference. Whilst I enjoy some of the very large new mural artworks in Fremantle I would not like to see it becoming common practise on a large number of buildings because that would be over kill.
I had a photo shoot in Subiaco yesterday and noticed how on a basically bland building they covered the street-level car park with these colourful panels that have a lot of small holes in them to allow fresh air to get in and car fumes to escape. It makes a big difference to the pretty boring building and streetscape I believe.
Bright, colourful and creatively designed buildings become an attraction and create a sense of beauty and well-being, so let’s have a bit more of it.
Canadian urban planning expert professor David Gordon has expressed what many people in Perth’s older established suburbs like Fremantle have been saying for years, that is it not necessary to disturb stable communities with high-density residential development, but that there is a lot of scope to develop along freeways and railways instead, and low-rise shopping centres and industrial areas should also be targets for higher residential development.
Professor Gordon told the Committee for Economic Development of Australia that Perth has the lowest density of a major city he has seen.
Gordon is an urban planning professor from Canada’s Queen’s University and said the WA Government faces a major challenge meeting its infill housing targets (it set in its 2031 future development papers)
LandCorp chief executive Frank Marra is quoted in the West Australian newspaper saying that developers often only got one chance to get high density living right and one bad design could alienate a community. I believe that is a very good comment, as established communities such as Fremantle want much better design than the bland colourless big boxes that developers can put up relatively cheaply, compared to outstanding and innovative design and building quality. We want development that embraces, enhances and improves neighbourhoods, not the boring mediocre sameness that destroys the ambience of older suburbs by taking their sense of amenity, comfort and unique lifestyle away.
Frank Marra told the West Australian that “The community really latches on with poor outcomes that might have occurred in the past.”
The W.A. government’s latest draft Perth and Peel@3.5 million report sets a target of building 800,000 new homes by 2050. Of that 380,000 are expected to be built through infill.
Here is Fremantle the Knutsford Street area and City of Fremantle Works Depot would be great areas for higher density student living to accommodate Notre Dame uni students, but also those who study at Murdoch and Curtin and who can jump on a bus to get there. It is not even a ten-minute bike ride from there to the CBD and UNDA, and busses come through Amherst and High Street frequently, so it appears to be a pretty perfect location for high-density living, that is also very close to the Fremantle golf course and Booyeembara Park for public open space and relaxation.
My information is that around 70 percent of UNDA students don’t live in Fremantle and I believe that is a real shame because they would bring vitality to our community and support our retailers and the hospitality industry, so Freo should make an effort to keep them in town. It is also something the State’s Landcorp agency should be supporting. Would it for example be possible to sell or lease Notre Dame a chunk of land at a peppercorn price if they were willing to build student accommodation, so that the students don’t have to commute and leave town? It might even be good for the City of Fremantle to consider doing a deal with UNDA on a small part of the Works Depot site as that would be a good investment into Freo’s future and an opportunity to keep a large percentage of the more than 5,500 students in town.
Fremantle artist Ross Porter will show his new drawings of heritage buildings in his exhibition Succinct as part of the FREMANTLE HERITAGE FESTIVAL at PS Art Studios from May 16 to 24.
Ross did 30 drawings in 30 days of historical Fremantle buildings.
Potter will also have an open studio to allow the public to visit and see his work space and free workshops will run on the first floor of PS Art Studios (entry corner Pakenham and Leake St).
Opening on Friday 15 May, 6-8pm.
I am a bit non-plussed by Colin Nichol’s critique in the Fremantle Herald of the new large mural paintings in Fremantle that were created as part of the PUBLIC2015 symposium.
Colin writes that “the last thing Fremantle needs is more of the same yet here it is.” But the new artworks, like them or not, are all original and not more of the same at all. The stunning work by artist TWOONE on the Myer building is an example of outstanding graffiti art and somehow, if the Kings Square development ever happens, that work should be preserved and not demolished during the planned facelift for the building, because this is a prime example of modern art in 2015.
Nichols argues that by allowing the murals to be painted Fremantle supports the indulgence of a passing fad, but art is always changing and that is precisely why it is so important to show future generations what our culture was all about now. Should Michelangelo not have been allowed to paint his sublime murals in the Sistine Chapel because it was a passing fad? Are Aboriginal rock art paintings irrelevant because they are just part of another passing fad, like piercings and tattoos? Colin Nichol seems to argue that we might as well not do it because it does not last. Yep, why change fashion, the way we design and build houses, or why have modern cars. They are all part of our passing fads because nothing remains the same in life.
The most remarkable statement in the article is that because “these adornments are thought to be necessary implies criticism of the current condition and care of the city centre.” No it does not do that at all Colin! What the artworks do is not criticising the architecture or neglect of a building but enhancing the public realm, and that is the aim and intend of all public art, no matter if it is painted on walls or put on the pavement.
Art is an essential expression of our culture and it shows how we have changed over the centuries. It is great we can juxtapose old and modern architecture and that we can look at an ‘old-fashioned’ bronze sculpture next to a huge modern mural. It opens our eyes to the past and present and inspires us to create a different and hopefully better future.
It is very disappointing that the W.A. State Government has yet again let down the Fremantle community, with the Department of Sport and Recreation not supporting the grant application that would have seen a new club house built at Parry Street for the Fremantle Workers, Tennis and Bowling clubs. The proposal also included an essential car park on the site to cater for users of the tennis and bowling facilities, club bar and restaurant, and that would also have catered for visitors to the Basilica, Clancy’s, Christian Brothers School, St Patrick’s Community group, etc.
The idea was that the COF would invest $ 1.3 million, the three clubs a similar amount, and that the State would cover the other $ 1.3 needed to make the development viable.
The proposal is now some $ 1.3 million short and it has to be seen if the City of Fremantle believes that income from the proposed carpark would be able to cover the shortfall.
It looks like State Government spent most of the available grant money on country sporting clubs but did not see the benefit a clubhouse sharing of the three Freo clubs would bring.
The City of Fremantle got hammered again with four letter to the editor in the Fremantle Gazette today about the Kings Square financial plan with Sirona Capital.
Mayor Brad Pettitt assured me today the City officers are writing a detailed response to all the questions that will be made public in due course, so hang in there and don’t become too impatient.
Fremantle KERRY HILL ARCHITECTS have released new images of the proposed Civic Centre development so for those who have not seen them yet, here they are.
Scaffolding is up around the lovely KULCHA/DOME building on the Fremantle Cappuccino Strip, so it looks like the grande old lady is getting a facelift, or new make-up, and will get painted. Always good to see work on heritage buildings.
Also good that Fremantle Council tomorrow evening will set a management team in place for the old Boys School at Princess May Park, so it can be decided what to do with it after the renovations are done, in case the FTI does not want to move back in, and it is highly unlikely they will want to as their funding has been cut drastically.
Mosman Park architect David Weir is not a fan of PUBLIC2015 by FORM, which has organised the painting of artworks on some 42 buildings around Perth during the week-long symposium. Weir acknowledges that the artworks are great but writes on his blog “It’s the canvas I take exception to.”
He argues in his lengthy article that the artworks are disrespectful to the designers, architects, builders, visions, concepts and that the artists use the buildings as if it was a blank canvas that is not part of the entire building design and streetscape. “The work of millions of man hours subjugated by a fresh approach and a cavalier attitude.” David Weir writes.
Weir complains that it is disrespectful that we paint something on buildings of a talented architect/designer because we-the new generations-decided they got it wrong in the first place and they should have painted an artwork on the blank walls, and he finishes his article “There is an insect and buffalo on the side of the Myer building and I don’t see the point.”
I especially love the massive and stunning buffalo painting by artist TWOONE above the MANY 6160 entrance but I do believe that David Weir has some valid points here. There is a certain arrogance in believing younger generations know better and we might as well paint the pyramids in Egypt red or get TWOONE to paint one of his giant and delightful buffalos on an ancient church because that old style is no longer relevant to modern living and architecture. It’s a bit like Photoshopping the hell out of great landscapes because the artists knows so much better what it should look like than nature does.
I believe David Weir has a point an that it would be an interesting discussion PUBLIC2015 and the wider community should have.