Freo's View

IMPRESSIVE FREMANTLE TOWNHALL CONSERVATION

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, heritage, kings square, local government by freoview on March 18, 2017

Scaffolding will gradually come down from next week on the Fremantle Townhall.

I was given an exterior tour of the conservation works on Friday by City of Fremantle heritage coordinator architect Alan Kelsall and heritage project officer Gena Binet and Zac of the building contractors and was very impressed with the very detailed and substantial work involved in the $ 3.1 million project.

The Townhall project is the largest conservation work the city has ever undertaken and was necessary because of the deterioration of the building due to paint that did not allow the building to breath and suffocated the building, hence salt and moisture had badly damaged large areas.

Don’t expect a brightly-painted building as it has been brought back to its original stucco look of 1887.

About the town hall restoration

Before current restorative works were undertaken it had been almost thirty years since the last major capital expenditure on the Fremantle Town Hall.

Since mid-2016 a large team of skilled stonemasons, plasterers, lead workers and slate roofers with specialist traditional skills have transformed the exterior of the town hall building using traditional building methods.

Key elements such as the roof cladding and drainage systems needed to be replaced urgently to protect the building from ongoing deterioration prevent the loss of culturally significant features and address concerns about public safety.

Gutters and downpipes were too small to cope with current extreme weather events and have led to ongoing damage to the interior of the building. These elements have all been enlarged.

There were also ongoing issues caused by inappropriate surface treatments and repairs to masonry elements carried out in the1950s–60s. At this time there was little understanding of best practice conservation which had unfortunately led to the ongoing deterioration of masonry, embedded steel and timbers and decorative stucco work in the town hall.

During the works, it was discovered some inaccessible parts of the building were in worse condition than expected and extra works were required. To prevent further deterioration of the building and to make use of scaffolding already in place for the current restoration works, it was more efficient and cost effective to complete these additional works now.

Roel Loopers

P.S. Stunning views from the top of the Townhall so I will post some scenic photos of Fremantle next week and have requested a rooftop bar and a granny flat for me to be included in the renovations.

NEW FREMANTLE SHIPPING NEWS MAGAZINE

Posted in fremantle, fremantle port, lifestyle, maritime by freoview on March 12, 2017

 

Check out the new on-line FREMANTLE SHIPPING NEWS magazine: http://fremantleshippingnews.com.au. I think it is very good and a great addition to local Freo media.

It’s not just about the port and maritime issues but about Fremantle lifestyle, food, heritage, architecture, art, etc.

FSN aims to be an online magazine about today’s Fremantle, with content and imagery provided, as much as possible, by interested locals.

The idea for the magazine was born out of daily drives past Fremantle Port and admiring and wondering about the activity of the coming and going ships.

The magazine is run by Fremantle local Michael Barker with assistance from local designers Superminimal, a number of Freo volunteer writers and photographers.

They welcome contact from anyone who would like to contribute to the magazine.

They have a subscribe button at the bottom of the webpage. Subscibers will receive an email notifying them of new articles.

FSH also have a Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/fremantleshippingnews/ which will promote new content and an instagram page https://www.instagram.com/fremantleshippingnews/ which will feature shipping and ‘Seen in Freo’ images.

ARCHITECTS DEFEND NOTRE DAME MEDIOCRITY

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, notre dame university by freoview on March 3, 2017

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In a rather petulant Thinking Allowed in the Fremantle Herald today Dean Fehlberg, a partner at MCDF Architects, who designed the mediocre proposal for the new Notre Dame University School of Nursing at 3 High Street claims Fremantle Council rejected the development because it was influenced by emotion and agitation.

Does Fehlberg mean with agitation the genuine concerns raised by Fremantle residents and the Fremantle Society in submissions to Council, and does he mean with emotion that we are very passionate about heritage protection in Fremantle?

Fehlberg shows a hint of arrogance and severe lack of self-criticism when he compares the height of the proposed UNDA building with the gorgeous National Hotel, Pearse Building, Orient Hotel and Fremantle Hotel. These are all buildings of outstanding Goldrush period architecture and can in no way be compared to the unimaginative, boring and mediocre design proposal for the historic West End of Fremantle by the MCDF Architects.

The architects are no doubts also aware that the criticism about the height of the proposed building is because the planning rules for the West End Conservation Area only allow for three-storey buildings with an option of a fourth storey if the architecture is outstanding, which it isn’t!

Architect Fehlberg also criticises the Slavin Architects designed MSC building in Cliff Street because “it is all glass and flowing curved lines of steel with no masonry at all and without any precedence in the West End.”

Indeed Mr Fehlberg, and that makes the MSC building so delightfully unique, inspiring, creative and heritage of the future architecture, while your team ignores the heritage significance and beauty of the West End by proposing a very bland design. It does not add to the architectural greatness of the West End, but the MSC building does.

Dean Fehlberg writes in the Herald that he was very disappointed with the Fremantle Council level of debate….and disrespect shown for the opinion of the State Heritage Office and City’s Design Advisory Committee.

What concerns the community and Fremantle Councillors more is the disrespect shown by MCDF Architects for the unique beauty and historic significance of the West End and that the architects believe their non-creative boredom is appropriate next to the stunning Lionel Samson building and opposite the beautiful Fremantle Hotel building and in Western Australia’s most beautiful street.

Harsh self-criticism is a great way forward to becoming excellent at what one does, not acknowledging one’s own limitations means accepting mediocrity.

Roel Loopers

NOTRE DAME ADJOURNS WEST END DEVELOPMENT

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, heritage, notre dame university by freoview on March 2, 2017

Fremantle Notre Dame University Vice Chancellor Celia Hammond has advised city residents that the university has asked the state’s Joint Development Assessment Panel-JDAP to adjourn the application for a five-storey development at 3 High street by four weeks so that the university can further explore the details.

The application was scheduled to be considered by JDAP next Thursday on March 9.

UNDA are engaging an independent heritage specialist to assist them in addressing the heritage matters which have been raised. They will also be seeking the input and comments of the City Officers and Councillors throughout this time, the Vice Chancellor said.

This is a very professional and mature approach by Notre Dame University and shows real consideration and respect for the feedback they received from Fremantle Council and residents.

Roel Loopers

PERFECT FOR NOTRE DAME SCHOOL OF NURSING

Posted in city of fremantle, development, notre dame university by freoview on March 2, 2017

 

If as I expect the WA Joint Development Assessment Panel next Thursday rejects the application by Notre Dame University for a five-storey development at 3 High Street, the university will have to look at alternative solutions.

The School of Nursing requires a lot of floor space, so a lower three-storey building in the West End won’t be big enough for UNDA I presume.

I found the perfect location for the new Notre Dame building on the corner of Suffolk Street and South Terrace, opposite Fremantle Hospital.

It is a leisurely ten-minute walk from the rest of the UNDA campus, close to public transport and parking and just a ten-minute walk to the railway station.

The vacant site is outside the West End conservation area, so height won’t be an issue and neither would be street level activation.

The City of Fremantle is planning a new carpark at the Stan Reilley site, so no worries about parking either, and Queensgate and Collie Street parking is nearby as well.

Roel Loopers

JDAP DECIDES NOTRE DAME DEVELOPMENT MARCH 9

Posted in architecture, fremantle, notre dame university, western australia by freoview on March 1, 2017

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WA’s Joint Development Assessment Panel-JDAP will make a ruling on the development application by Fremantle’s Notre Dame University for a five-storey building at 3 High Street on Thursday March 9 at 9.30 am.

The council chambers are located on the first floor of the council offices at 8 William Street, Fremantle. Access to the council chambers is via the stairs located next to the children’s playground on the eastern side of the building.

Should you wish to speak at the JDAP meeting, please complete a presentation request form which can be found via the following link https://www.planning.wa.gov.au/7581.asp which must be submitted to the JDAP secretariat via daps@planning.wa.gov.au

For contact details, accessing the agenda and additional information please visit the http://www.planning.wa.gov.au/Development-Assessment-Panels.asp.

Unfortunately I won’t be able to attend the meeting and address the panel as I will be in Fiona Stanley Hospital that day, so please do raise your objections and submit your written protest against this totally inappropriate and very ugly building for Freo’s West End!!

Roel Loopers

FREO AIMS HIGH FOR NEW CIVIC CENTRE

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, kings square by freoview on February 24, 2017

I support the idea by the City of Fremantle of adding a third commercial floor to the new Civic Centre at Kings Square. I believe that is good long-term planning and caters for the future, while also adding long-term revenue for the City.

Architecturally it will also give the architects more chance of creating a more visually appealing vertical building that compliments the Townhall better.

When council amalgamations finally happen, well after my lifetime, and Fremantle is a much bigger city that requires more staff, we don’t have to make expensive additions, but already have the space to accommodate them.

The financial sustainability of Fremantle is a worry though and Council needs to ruthlessly prioritise as we don’t want to end up with a Colin Barnett-like mega debt.

Parking revenue alone has gone down by over $ 743,500 and parking infringements were also down by some $ 300,000, so that is over a million dollars of lost revenue, while the City has got big and expensive plans for Kings Square, Fremantle Oval, Cantonment Hill and others.

On the up side we should be making millions of dollars out of the sale of the Knutsford Street depot site in the very near future.

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE COUNCIL REJECTS NOTRE DAME DEVELOPMENT

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, notre dame university by freoview on February 22, 2017

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Fremantle Council unanimously rejected the development proposal for a five-storey building by Notre Dame University on the corner of High and Cliff streets on Wednesday evening.

It was telling that the only person on the night who spoke in favour of the terribly mediocre and boring development proposal for 3 High Street in Fremantle’s historic West End was Olwyn Williams the CEO of the Chamber of Commerce.

Very disappointing that the Chamber does not recognise that Fremantle is so popular with overseas and interstate visitors because of Fremantle’s beautiful West End and historic significance.

Everyone else who spoke was very strongly against the absolutely inappropriate proposal for what is arguably the most beautiful street in Western Australia. I understand 45 submissions against the proposal were sent to Fremantle Council and only three in support of it.

Some comments from public speakers: The design is totally inappropriate- Architecture unworthy of the historic location-  Does not respect existing heritage buildings- Rethink the location of the building and move it to the east end of Fremantle.

Councillor Jon Strachan said it was clear cut to him that he could not support the proposal, while Councillor David Hume said the street level activation carrot that was dangled was not enough to approve the building.

Councillor Rachel Pemberton said the proposed building does not integrate with the other facades at all and that the ‘urban grain’ is very important.

Councillor Simon Nabor said it was too bulky, too big and dominates the area, while Deputy Mayor Dave Coggin said that it is a terrible outcome and that High Street is an extremely important heritage street.

Councillor Andrew Sullivan who also spoke against the building warned that it might be approvable for the State’s JDAP which is the decision-making authority.

I am outraged to learn that the State Heritage Office has recommended approval for the building. The way they are going they are becoming as incompetent as the EPA. This is the same office that put the entire West End on the State Heritage List, but now supports the UNDA monstrosity that has no place in the historic West End.

I urge my friends at Notre Dame to not push this ahead against the wishes of the Fremantle community and council. UNDA needs to accept that the floor space they need for the new School of Nursing can’t be achieved at 3 High Street because it breaks development and heritage rules for the West End Conservation Area. Move the building east of the Townhall and you’ll get all the space you require! Please do it!!

Roel Loopers

 

REFLECTION OF THE SCOTS CHURCH

Posted in architecture, fremantle, heritage, religion by freoview on February 20, 2017

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I took this reflection photo of the Scots Presbyterian Church at Norfolk Street in a window of the old Fremantle Oval this morning.

The Dockers have left Freo Oval for Cockburn, so good riddance to them.

The church was designed by architects Talbot Hobbs and the foundation stone was laid by John Forres on March 26, 1890. The church officially opened seven months later on November 26, 1890.

Roel Lopers

 

COUNCIL TO REJECT NEW NOTRE DAME BUILDING

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, notre dame university by freoview on February 18, 2017

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As expected the ‘Officers Recommendation’ to Fremantle Council for the proposed 5-storey building in High Street by Notre Dame University is for Council to reject it. The item will go to Council this Wednesday at 6 pm.

The decision-making authority is the state’s Joint Development Assessment Panel, but that will take Fremantle Council’s recommendation into consideration.

I was initially very irate about the UNDA proposal because I was very disappointed that the two community sessions had not changed anything, so as someone very passionate about Freo’s heritage I wrote a few things about the university I now regret, but my strong opposition to this inappropriate building has not disappeared.

I am a fan and strong supporter of Notre Dame University and believe they are good for the West End where many cafes would not survive without the patronage of 8000+ UNDA students and staff, but UNDA needs to be realistic and pragmatic about the development proposal for 3 High Street.

After reading the opinions of CoF planning and heritage staff and the Design Advisory Commission it becomes clear that the UNDA architects tried hard to accommodate the DAC wishes, while also trying to retain as much floor space as possible and that is the problem.

Fact is that the floor space UNDA needs for its School of Nursing can’t be achieved on that site without disregarding planning and heritage considerations, so it is not a realistic proposition to build something of that volume at the proposed site.

What UNDA now needs to do, after JDAP will also reject the development proposal, is to find an alternative location for a five-storey building, one where they might not even want to include a theatre space, thus giving them more floor space to use for education only and not a public community space.

The corner of Cliff and High streets is ideally suited for an iconic three-storey building, but unfortunately for Notre Dame it is unsuitable for a five-storey building and for the boring design that shows very little respect for the significant historic West End and the great heritage architecture in the area.

I intend to address Council on Wednesday to voice my opposition to the proposal, although I am a big fan of UNDA and its outstanding Vice Chancellor Celia Hammond, senior staff and the many lecturers I know. UNDA is good for Freo but the proposed building is bad for the West End and that’s why it needs to be rejected.

Roel Loopers

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