I had another look at the five-storey proposal for 18-22 Adelaide Street at Fremantle’s Kings Square at yesterday’s information session and walked out appalled at the laziness of the architects who have not even tried to show respect for the surrounding heritage.
They propose set-back square boxes above the old two-storey facade, when a tiny design change could have created more suitable vertical lines and make it into a building that shows at least a little bit of sympathy and reference to Fremantle’s character and heritage.
Five storeys is of course far too high as the building should not be higher than the facade of the beautiful heritage building to the west of it.
I also had a walk around the almost completed controversial Atwell Arcade development and believe it blends in sufficiently as it has a softness about it and angles away from the High Street mall.
Fremantle is in a challenging time where a lot of development is happening and more applications for very substantial and high buildings are in the pipeline, so we need to find a compromise on what is acceptable for our city and viable for developers, but ugly, boring and mediocre is not on, and neither is inappropriate height in certain locations. If developers need more height they will have to move to the east of the CBD, not in the centre, and definitely not in the West End either.
I am intrigued by reflections and am always on the prowl to find new ones I have not discovered yet. This one of St John’s church at Fremantle’s Kings Square in the rear light of a car is a beauty I believe.
The blue artwork on the new Quest service apartments hotel on the corner of Pakenham and Short streets in the historic West End of Fremantle is the first percentage for the arts work in the city. It was created by well-known WA artist Lorenna Grant and is titled Folly of Follies.
It is a reference to the history of Manning Hall that used to be opposite Pioneer Park. Manning’s Hall – more often called ”Manning’s Folly” – was a very unique building erected in 1858 at great expense for Charles Manning, a Chairman of the Fremantle Town Trust (1859-1867). A passionate astronomer, he lived there until he died in 1869. The building was demolished in 1928 to be replaced by the façade that is still there now.
Lorenna Grant says that the artwork was developed by creating a drawing of the original Manning’s Folly based on historic and archival images. The drawing uses the colours and hallmarks of early architectural ideas recorded as ‘blue prints’ and has been printed to 60 fixed glass panels.
The image is one that falls in and out of construction marking the coming and going of the previous dome on the site. The resulting image while couched in local history speaks of transmigration, ascending entities, the movement through the night sky of stars and sacred geometries and alignments that enthralled Manning. The image is intentionally unfixed as to create different experiences from varied focal points in and adjacent to the area.
What I don’t like about the artwork is that the blue colour does not match in at all with the other colours of the building and stands out like an eyesore for me. If the blue was a darker blue or other colour-after all amateur astronomy is mainly done at night-it would have fitted in better with the dark tones of the architecture.
What do YOU think?
The Quest Hotel will open on November 23!
Great facade of a building in Henry Street, Fremantle. How easy it is to fall in love with Freo!
With the rumoured sale of the Fremantle Manning Estate in High and Market Street to Fremantle property developers Silverleaf the debate on what is good and bad development for Fremantle will continue.
Silverleaf have been criticised for the buildings along Queen Street, opposite Target and also for the Atwell Arcade development, and will be developing the Woolstores shopping centre site in the near future and also the former Court House site in Henderson Street.
The Manning Estate site is clearly prime development opportunity and it is likely the developers will want character-changing additional height in the centre of Fremantle, so how can State and Local governments legislate for beautiful architecture to protect cities from inappropriate and boring development, who will be the judge on beauty?
I was thinking about this the other day when an architecture lecturer at one of the universities told me she hates the new MSC building in Cliff Street, designed by Murray Slavin Architects, while I really like the building. Who is right? Nobody clearly as we all have different tastes and that makes legislating for aesthetics near impossible.
I thought about it again when I read the Fremantle Society attack on the Atwell Arcade and Bank building by Silverleaf, as I don’t mind the new Atwell building that blends in adequately. I also like the corner of Cantonment and Queen streets building but not the corner of Queen and Adelaide street that is more suited to O’Connor.
Beauty is extremely subjective but somehow we need to have stronger guidelines on what is appropriate for specific sites. The west end needs to be treated with extreme sensitivity and care while east of Kings Square I am happy to see a bit of height and density, but that is just my opinion that no doubt will be challenged by others.
It is not easy to be a Councillor or planner at local government!
The adaptive re-use of the historic Fremantle Dalgety Woolstores into the Heirloom residential apartments by Match and Sirona Capital is almost finished, with scaffolding coming down at Beach Street showing the old building in its new glory.
There is something truly majestic about this building, and the renovations look fine but for the one design feature of large boxed windows on the top level. To me that looks inconsistent to the rest of the facade, but that is just my individual opinion and I am sure everyone will have they own say on it.
Estimated occupation of the building is December this year and it will be a great addition to the Freo inner city.
The Fremantle WGV development on the former Kim Beazley school site in White Gum Valley has won the Australia Award for Urban Design, Policies, Programs and Concepts – Small Scale for Fremantle architects CODA, Landcorp, Urbis and Josh Byrne.
The Jury citation states that “White Gum Valley aims to realise a diverse, highly sustainable infill development that reflects and enhances its suburban surrounds. The highly collaborative process embraced multiple entities and disciplines and has initiated a new nationally significant model for higher density infill development. The project incorporates and celebrates sustainability across ten ‘one planet living’ principles, and ties this to the creation of a thriving, resilient and diverse community. WGV at White Gum Valley is a project of genuine innovation and leadership.”
It says about the entry that as an “Innovation through Demonstration” project, WGV demonstrates the economic and social benefits of sustainable development and creates a blueprint for the planning and development of small infill sites within an established suburb. The success of WGV is testament to the collaborative and forward-thinking approach of its multi-disciplinary design team.”
I have thought long and hard for the last five days about the development proposal by Fremantle Notre Dame University for the vacant site on the corner of Cliff and High streets in the historic West End and have come to the conclusion that it is not acceptable.
Even with all my good will for Notre Dame and being a supporter of the uni I can’t approve of the bland building proposed that is unacceptably high in the West End Conservation Area, no matter how much I like the UNDA people.
WECA has a four storey limit and just because an incompetent council in the 80s approved the abomination and monstrosity at number 1 High Street-the former Tram building- does not mean we should now allow another five storey building next to it to cover up the ugliness.
If UNDA needs the extra height it needs to move to the east of the CBD, but what they propose can’t be tolerated in our beautiful West End. The design is unsympathetic to the streetscape and entire historic area and the five storey height would squeeze in the surrounding buildings and Roundhouse.
The sweet carrot dangled in front of the community by offering ground level activity with a theatre, function/exhibition space and a bar/cafe is not good enough to compromise and allow a fifth floor on this building, as that is well above the West End Conservation Area planning rules and should never be compromised, not even for my good friends at UNDA!
The only compromise I can see is for a redesigned facade with a set back fourth storey that is pulled back well from the corner of Cliff and High in a 45 degree angle to create a third level roof terrace. That would also create the opportunity of a vertical garden along the fourth floor and an outdoor function and recreation area on the third floor roof.
Notre Dame University have genuinely tried to be a good corporate citizen and be part of the Fremantle community, but they need and can do much better with this building. This is a fantastic opportunity to build a heritage of the future building in this prime location, and they should not let their architects get away with proposing something so average and boring. UNDA must insist on beauty and creativity.
It is a shame I can’t show you the artist drawing of the proposal but they are not yet available to the public.
An information session will be held on October 25 from 5.30-6pm at the City of Fremantle. Enter at the back up the stairs in front of Many 6100.
Is this new building on the corner of Hulbert Street and Douro Road the best architects can come up with for old suburban streets? It is a very average, incoherent looking building that appears more industrial than residential, with old bricks thrown in for some kind of heritage reference, I suppose.
The large balconies on Hulbert Street have industrial looking steel balustrades in a street that has so much community participation and environmental awareness, so I doubt the local community there will feel very happy with this addition to their streetscape. This building is more suited to O’Connor than South Freo and it’s a shame the City of Fremantle approved it.