Freo's View

PERCENTAGE FOR HERITAGE IMPORTANT FOR FREMANTLE

Posted in architecture, art, city of fremantle, development, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on January 10, 2018

 

An interesting flaw in the City of Fremantle’s Percentage for the Arts or Heritage policy came to light during the Planning Committee on Wednesday evening.

Fremantle Society president John Dowson made the very sensible suggestion that the percentage should be used to reinstate the wrought-iron verandahs on the Manning Buildings when they are developed, but was told it is not possible to use the percentage for the arts/heritage on a private building.

I had just written down that the Quest Hotel and another Pakenham Street development both have percentage for the art works attached to their buildings, when Silverleaf director Gerard O’Brien made exactly the same point to the Councillors.

The percentage for the arts and heritage policy was introduced to enhance and beautify the public realm, and Councillor Rachel Pemberton made the realistic observation that verandahs are very much in the public realm.

It is absolutely non-sensical that building owners and developers cannot spend percentage for heritage and arts money on beautifying the public realm with heritage features, but are forced to spend it on often pretty mediocre and uninspiring art that can be attached to their buildings.

Developers tell me that a lot of the money from percentage for the arts is spend on administration and art consultants, and not on the actual art work, so let gets some reality in a policy that is clearly flawed and needs to be amended, so that we can encourage developers to reinstate verandahs, which look much better than modern awnings.

It would be a win win for all!

And to make it clear! I love great public art and believe the percentage for the arts and heritage is good, but it needs to be realistic and flexible.

There are many silly rules and regulations in our planning laws and some of them are detrimental to achieving the best outcome. All the community wants is the very best building outcomes, not silly bureaucratic nonsense.

Roel Loopers

FREO DEVELOPMENT NOTHING LIKE EAST BERLIN

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on January 8, 2018

 

liv-apartments---artist-rendor_870x340

 

Fremantle Society president John Dowson has the uncanny ability to discredit himself by making ridiculous statements, as the rant below, which he sent to FS members about the LIV apartment development at Queen Victoria Street shows.

———————————-

Communist East Berlin Apartment Block Arrives

The raft of damaging oversized buildings is underway in Fremantle with the arrival of the East Berlin Communist inspired “Liv” apartment block in Queen Victoria Street opposite the “Giant of Fremantle”, the former Fort Knox wool store, the largest wool store left in Fremantle.

To allow the “Giant of Fremantle” to be overshadowed by an apartment block next to it is appalling planning and decision making, a failure of councillors to grasp very basic fundamentals of urban planning. 

The development suits the ideology of Fremantle Council, because the extensive number of low cost dwellings will largely be Labor voters.


 

The deciding authority for the $ 61 million development was the WA Joint Development Assessment Panel, if my memory serves me correct, and not Fremantle Council, because all development over $ 10 million automatically is moved on to JDAP.

Dowson must not have visited the former East Berlin and East Germany often when he claims the building is of the former communist country standards.  The LIV is built to One Planet green sustainability standards, and while I am not impressed either with the architecture it looks a whole lot better than the ugly dark concrete boxes they used to put up in East Berlin.

The six-storey LIV is a little higher than, but does not overshadow the very imposing HEIRLOOM woolstores over the road, but the length of the building is the issue and the facade should have been broken up a few times instead of just the one walk-through piazza to Quarry Street.

Only a wealthy person would claim that the building is for low cost occupation by Labor voters, when a small one-bedroom sells for over $ 400,000, a two-bedroom starts at $ 545,000 and a three bedroom for over one million dollars.  The building is developed by Defence Housing Australia and defence personnel will be occupying the apartments, as well as private owners.

The juxtaposition of old Heirloom and modern LIV on either side of Queen Victoria Street will make for an interesting entry statement to Fremantle when LIV is completed in August this year. It will show visitors that Fremantle is on the way to long-overdue modernisation of the run down east of the CBD.

But in general I would like to see much better, more innovative and creative architecture in Fremantle than what we are getting. The issues are not with Fremantle Council but with soft State planning laws that do not give deciding authorities the option of rejecting building approval on aesthetic grounds. I wished that would be changed to guarantee great modern design instead of mediocrity.

 

Roel Loopers

 

 

ART OUT OF THE ORDINARY

Posted in art, city of fremantle, photography, Uncategorized by freoview on January 5, 2018

 

 

There is not much news to report in good old Freo as Council is only returning to meetings from next Wednesday on, so here a few recycled arty photos I have taken over the years.

Roel Loopers

SILVER LINING FOR FREMANTLE

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on December 31, 2017

 

Only one more sleep and we are starting a new year, which will be a very significant one for Fremantle.

I am very optimistic about the future of our delightful port city, as 2018 will be a year of transition, change and consolidation for Freo.

Major development will start early in the year at Kings Square and other massive development is in the pipeline.

The large LIV apartment building at Queen Victoria Street will be completed toward the end of the year, and the Warders Cottages boutique hotel will be built next to the Fremantle Markets.

One of the major development players in town is Silverleaf, which are embarking on the huge development of the Woolstores shopping centre site, the Manning Building and the Police and Justice complex at Henderson Street.

Being one of the major developers responsible for future building Fremantle Silverleaf does not only have a real opportunity to make a big impact, but also have an obligation to create beauty and character in the CBD.

Silverleaf, Match, Sirona Capital, and other developers can create history by building exceptional heritage of the future buildings of creative architecture and old-fashion craftsmanship pride.

Cheap and cheerful concrete boxes with a bit of cladding to make them more appealing are not very Freo at all, and should be refused. There needs to be softness and roundness instead of square hard corners, and lovely features that makes building attractive.

Building modern Fremantle just a stone’s throw from the old heritage town comes with responsibility to do more than just watching the triple bottom financial line for investors. It comes with community demand for outstanding design and respect for Freo’s character and lifestyle.

It is just mindset and goodwill that are the difference between building boring mediocrity or classy high-quality eye-catchers!

Roel Loopers

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NO WOOLSTORES TOWERS PLEASE

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on December 13, 2017

 

Mosman Park architect Carl Payne sent me a sketch and following contemplations about the proposed ten-storey mixed-use development of the Fremantle Woolstores shopping centre.

I believe it is essential to have a public conversation about what appropriate and good architecture for Fremantle is, so want to share Carl’s thoughts with the Freo’s View readers.

Massing Study

 

My approach to design is generally inside-out; that is, the planning logic dictates the final external forms. However, I’ve just bent my rule to some extent.
This is because, when considering architectural solutions for sensitive historic streetscapes – such as Cantonment Street, I think it’s valid for an external “massing-approach” to be the starting point.

As Ken Adam said, existing heights could/should also play an important role.

For these reasons, I spent a few hours doing a massing solution – see attached sketch.

Its logic is partly determined by two walk-through arcades that I show on the plan. These assist connectivity for this large city block; and create large doorways on the street. (I’ve ripped off and adapted Murray Slavin’s new facade details in Cliff Street, as part of what could be an exuberant and sculptural design approach. Thanks Murray.)

The forms are totally conceptual – a building is not designed in 4 hours. But the massing approach; the “urban wall” approach; the reduced palette of materials; the height limitations based on the adjacent woodstores; etc etc, are worth further consideration.

And a site development as suggested by my quick esquisse – one that opens up two pedestrian corridors that would also service the new supermarket and other spaces; and which could even create internal courtyards for gathering; merchandising; and allow internal natural light etc – would also meet the total net development area as proposed by the current scheme, if carefully done.

Without the need for the towers. No towers please…………………………………!!

QUIET BEFORE THE STORM IN FREMANTLE

Posted in city of fremantle, development, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on December 5, 2017

 

Freo’s View readers are concerned that I might be sick or gone AWOL, as I have not posted many articles lately, but that is not the case. There is simply not much going on to report about in good old Femantle at present.

It’s the quiet before the Kings Square development storm and other major new development in the pipeline.

The demolition of the Queensgate building might still happen in December, but it might not, and the council building is due for demolition in January.

City of Fremantle staff will move to Fremantle Oval on December 18, so take note of that.

The Stan Reilly site has been flattened and they are now removing the rubbish to make way for a new 150+ bay car park.

MATCH has started the development of the former Energy Museum site at Parry Street.

Freo’s major concern remains inappropriate development where developers do not seem to care about the visual impact of the proposed new buildings, and the heritage significance of Fremantle.

It is a worry that the development laws are not stronger and more specific in that regard and that major development gets approved by state agencies.

Fremantle Council can only put a recommendation of refusal or approval to those agencies, but the statistics show that JDAP is very much pro developers and often ignores  what local councils want.

Two significant development proposals are coming before the Planning Committee tomorrow night so have your say!

Roel Loopers

WOOLSTORES PLANS NOT DISTINCTIVE OR EXCEPTIONAL

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, Uncategorized by freoview on November 27, 2017

 

Woolstores

 

Retired North Fremantle architect Ken Adams has submitted his opinion about the Fremantle Woolstores development by Silverleaf for the Fremantle Society, that deserves to be shared with the wider community

It is quite detailed and hence long, so I have edited it a bit, but it is still long for a blog post.

Below are his excellent expert thoughts and opinion about the massive development:

Total Redevelopment of the Site is Welcome and offers a Great Opportunity.
It should be clear that a total redevelopment of the site is not merely welcome; it is well overdue. The replacement of the original woolstores building by the existing banal shopping centre, car parking and open servicing areas was, in urban design and other terms, a complete and unrelieved disaster.

The decision to redevelop the entire site offers a wonderful opportunity to undo that mistake and create a very positive development that will serve and greatly enhance the city centre. The opportunity must not be missed, nor should it in any way be compromised by confusing what may be permitted with what is best for Fremantle

The issues dealt with here are:

  • whether the general character, including proposed use , scale and form, is appropriate;

  • whether the building heights proposed are appropriate and whether the development meets the criteria for design excellence; and

  • whether the more detailed architectural design aspects are appropriate.

 
Context is Everything
The site occupies a pivotal position in the city’s townscape and activities, mediating between the major woolstore buildings (now converting, appropriately, to residential use) and the central business (essentially retail, entertainment and office) district.

Both the uses and character of development proposed for the subject site must recognise this pivotal position.

There are two buildings that set the benchmark for the height and scale of what should occur on the site. These are firstly and most critically, the superb Goldsborough Mort and Company Woolstores building immediately north of the site. The second is the relatively recent and modern building on the SE corner of Queen and Goldsborough Streets. Whatever happens on the site must recognise both the scale and character of these two buildings.

General Character and Form of the Development
It seems to me that a mixed use development of the site is most appropriate, because the site does mediate between the essentially business and essentially residential precincts of the city. For that reason, I support, in general terms, the mix proposed, including the replacement of the major supermarket, market hall, offices, significant active-frontage retail and other uses and housing for both active young adults and predominantly retired people.

Provision of active uses at the street frontages of Cantonment and Queen Streets is especially important, and supported. Goldsborough Street, currently a pedestrian desert, also offers the opportunity to become an active and very attractive street in future, especially with a future re-use of the Goldsborough Mort Woolstore building.

In general terms the most appropriate precedents for the overall scale and form of the redevelopment of this pivotal site lie with the adjacent Goldsborough Mort Woolstores building and in the memory of the site, itself a former wool store building of similar scale and mass to the Goldsborough Mort building and the other woolstores along Elder Place and Beach Street – the so-called “March of the Giants”.

These suggest a strong, perhaps even monolithic, well-defined mass. The proposed development largely achieves this, were it not for the superimposition of the two tower elements, one at either end, and the excessive size of gaps in the facades, compromising the continuity of the facades.

The unusually large size of the site also strongly suggests the provision of at least one public pedestrian access way through the site, in line with either the Westgate Mall entry, as proposed, or Point Street, or both.

This access way, however, should be completely permeable at ground level, ie it should provide a clear view through between Cantonment Street and Elder Place.

Building Height and Design Excellence
In my opinion the most beneficial height for development over the site would be set 
precisely at the level of the Goldsborough Mort Woolstores building, creating a  beautifully proportioned streetscape in Goldsborough Street. This level would appear to be close to the level that would generally result from the 21m height limit.

From an urban design perspective the most desirable streetscape outcome is unquestionably to maintain a consistent building height/level based on the level of the Goldsborough Mort Woolstores building. The 21m height level appears to be a good approximation of this. No extension of height above this visible from the adjacent streets would improve the appearance of the building.

The two proposed blocks of additional height, one at each end of the development, almost doubling the height of the development at those places, create an awkwardly balanced and poorly proportioned architectural composition.

Far from being a beneficial element, as claimed by the applicant’s report, they are significantly detrimental to the urban design outcome. That’s from a purely urban design perspective.

In order to gain approval for the additional height it is necessary for the applicant to demonstrate that the outcome would represent “Distinctive Architectural Design and Exceptional Design Quality”. The architectural design of the complex as a whole, and of the additional floors, is competent, but no more so than must be expected of any architect.

Distinctive” and “Exceptional Design Quality”, by definition, are terms that cannot be applied to any but a relative handful of buildings.

To gain some idea of what is required to reach these heights, one needs to look at examples of highly regarded contemporary buildings, notably those that have achieved awards of excellence. In the City of Perth Council House and the new City Library come to mind, as do 40 William Street and the Central Park development.

In Fremantle perhaps the proposed Kings Square redevelopment might meet the test. Could anyone seriously argue that the proposed Woolstores redevelopment would stand proudly alongside these?
Competent and attractive as the proposed development may be claimed to be it is neither “distinctive” nor of “exceptional design quality”, and hence does not pass the bar for the additional height concession.

It is neither “distinctive” nor of “exceptional design quality” and hence does not pass the bar for additional height concession.

I believe that Ken Adams sums it up pretty well and it is also my opinion of the development proposal.

Development of the ugly site is very welcome, but it needs to be of very good architectural design quality, and sadly the proposal is mediocre and uninspiring. Silverleaf need to come up with something much better and more balanced, because the two towers on either side create a severe imbalance that would look awful.

I agree with Ken Adams that there is nothing exceptional about the architecture and hence discretionary additional height should not be granted by Fremantle Council or the DAP.

Ken Adams received the prestigious Architects Board Award. He headed the Urban Design Section of the Town Planning Department. He was a founding member of CityVision in 1987 and has been Chairman since 2001. He was the consultant responsible for the most comprehensive study of Fremantle, carried out in 1979-80 for the purposes of establishing a comprehensive strategy for the City.

Roel Loopers

 

NO MORE HERITAGE BY NEGLECT

Posted in city of fremantle, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on November 24, 2017

 

WA Heritage Minister David Templeman is serious about heritage protection. A bill will be introduced in parliament next week to stop Demolition by Neglect by uncaring property owners.

Fines of up to $ 1 million, or one year jail, and ongoing daily penalties of $ 50,000 are part of the new legislation that will be managed by the State Administrative Tribunal.

Under the legislation owners of heritage-listed buildings who don’t maintain the property will receive a Repair Notice that requires them to make buildings safe and secure to prevent further deterioration.

I would love Marilyn New woolstores eyesore in Fremantle’s Cantonment Street to be the first one to cop a huge fine as the Fremantle community has been held at ransom for over a decade.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE DEMANDS CREATIVE ARCHITECTURE!

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on November 8, 2017

 

MSC 1

MSC 2

 

It is slow news day in Fremantle today, so not much to blog about unfortunately.

But walking through Cliff Street this morning I admired the innovative architecture of the Mediterranean Shipping Company new building and the respectful way the old building has been restored to its former glory.

It is fantastic to see that North Fremantle Slavin Architects were allowed to design such a creative heritage of the future building by their client MSC, and I wonder why one of our major developers Silverleaf constantly puts up mediocre development proposals, such as the Woolstores shopping centre and Manning building sites.

Do Silverleaf’s designers not understand the importance of heritage and streetscape, or can’t they be bothered being considered about the unique character of the historic Fremantle inner city?

It is important in this context to hear what professional architect Carl Payne commented about the Manning Building proposal:

In terms of the scale of Village-Fremantle, this is a massive re-defining of a hugely-important central “super-block”. We need to preserve the maximum original structures as is reasonably possible, both externally and internally.
The brewery-barn takes a lot of important old rear buildings – some of the early residential sections of the original street-front commercial, so that’s always a worry, because we lose historic context.
If Council played harder-ball, the design brief could respond by converting these into inter-related “snugs”; like the cosy-corners in European and British pubs. It just needs some strength and commitment from Council; and some imaginative responses from the building designers and their client.
I’m sick of lose/lose.
What about win/win. It’s possible if we try hard enough.
My other additional preliminary comment is that we now have a chance to fully restore/reconstruct all original street verandas, yet we are being offered a banal boxy awning. Not good enough you building designers!!!

I want Mayor Brad to come out strongly; and NOT say that we need to encourage investment and therefore we need to give a little. Getting a bit sick of that from Brad.
He needs to make a stand on what IS acceptable; and what ISN’T acceptable. We can now look back on the last few “development years”……..and measure what is good; and what is not so good.
It’s not development versus museum town any more. Those arguments were had in the seventies.
We need to be more mature than that now.
If the building owners/developers wanna make a buck – fair enough, but not at the expense of the town; not at the expense of the heritage; not at the expensive of missing the point of what Fremantle has to offer.

We just don’t really get it – yet. We go away and look at old towns overseas – rave on about character; and history; and all that. Then we are happy with stuff that chips away at the edges to the extent that all this chipping finally removes what we wanted to keep in the first place. Death by a thousand chips. Will you have fish with that?

Aaaaahhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Re my earlier reference to a banal boxy awning – I see the drawings actually show a detail, and that includes verandah posts and wall brackets, so there’s a nod to “original” detail, but is this just a generic reference? Or have they done their photo research etc?? Is this authenticity? Or just Disney?
And gee, the Paddy Troy Mall now ends in a basement carpark entry. The road to cars-ville. City of Fremantle, just drop the car-parking requirements please. OR, maybe this is just a client-driven detail, for business-owners parking?? Either way, it just reduces the internal courtyard to roads and car-park access. Do we really want to do this??

 

Roel Loopers

THE BEAUTY OF FREMANTLE. COME VISIT!

Posted in bathers beach, city of fremantle, heritage, photography, Uncategorized by freoview on November 4, 2017

 

freo 2

 

 

I wandered around Fremantle’s lovely West End just before sun set on Friday and took some tourist photos of the beautiful late light.

 

Roel Loopers

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