Freo's View

NEW LIV AND FREO DIES A LITTLE

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on November 3, 2017

 

 

The Fremantle LIV apartments built by Defence Housing along Queen Victoria and Quarry streets have reached the highest point of the building.

The development should be completed in just over 12 months and will provide a lot of new residential apartments in the inner city.

It is an utter shame that the architecture could and should have been so much better, and that the massive building could have been a inspiring entry statement to our port city.

Boring buildings are not very Freo at all!

It is time the City of Fremantle organised a forum with architects, city planners, the community, etc. to see how we can put better planning rules in place that will ensure better architecture in our city.

 

Roel Loopers

SITE SPECIFIC ARCHITECTURE A MUST FOR FREMANTLE

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on November 2, 2017

 

There was an interesting article on the property pages of the WEST AUSTRALIAN yesterday by senior architect Carmel van Ruth of the Office of the WA Government Architect about how good design is the foundation of infill development.

Van Ruth argues that urban infill has a significant impact on the public realm and the surrounding communities and needs to deliver improved site-specific outcomes.

I have been concerned for a long time that the importance of site-specific architecture in Fremantle and other character suburbs is something that seems to be lost on most developers and architects/designers, who just want to build something that might look good in Joondalup or Midland, but has no place in Fremantle. That attitude needs to change to guarantee we get outstanding modern Freo-specific architecture in Fremantle.

Innovative solutions will ensure that developers will receive discretionary addition height concessions from councils, van Ruth writes, and I believe Fremantle Council should have stricter rules for discretionary height.

Only really exceptional architecture should receive a reward in height for developers and will make them aware that only excellent design will be a win for the community and for them.

Van Ruth also writes that it requires skilled architects who understand the significance of infill development to get the desired outcomes. I totally agree with her, as the Fremantle example of poor architecture for development proposals is not acceptable.

 

Roel Loopers

FREO COMMUNITY DEMANDS GREAT ARCHITECTURE

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

 

Woolstores

 

The latest boring and bland development proposal for the Fremantle Woolstores shopping centre by Silverleaf has made me aware once again that planning laws, rules and regulations are not adequate to ensure quality development in Fremantle.

It is not the height that worries me most, although PSA 49 should never have allowed anything higher than 8-9 storeys in the CBD, but it is the uninspiring architectural blandness of the proposal that makes me want to pull my hair out in frustration.

I like it that Silverleaf develop the properties they acquire relatively fast, but they are major development players in our city and need to understand they have a corporate responsibility to the Fremantle community to build high quality development, and not run of the mill mediocrity.

Silverleaf has every right to want to maximise the investment dollar with height and floor space, and I do understand that the triple bottom line is a priority for them.

They will also be developing the Manning Arcade and Henderson Street justice and police complex and adjoining Warders Cottages in the near future, so they need to realise that they do have an obligation to leave outstanding buildings for future generations.

The Mediterranean Shipping Company could have built a boring four-storey concrete box in Cliff Street, but instead got North Fremantle Slavin Architects to design an exceptional building for them that is heritage of the future quality.

After community backlash and Council rejection of the proposal, Notre Dame University decided that their community responsibility demanded they start all over again with the design of the new School of Nursing and Midwifery, because they understand their corporate obligations to Fremantle.

Developers who want to invest in Fremantle do need to understand they have an obligation to embrace, respect and enhance the unique character of our city. The anything goes and it’s good enough attitude toward development is not tolerated by the community.

Architects and designers should create more Fremantle-appropriate architecture that shows sensitivity toward Freo’s uniqueness, and major developers such as Silverleaf should insist on outstanding design because the Fremantle community demands it.

Great development is a win win for all!

Development plans can be viewed on the City of Fremantle website.

Roel Loopers

NEW WOOLSTORES DEVELOPMENT PLANS

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on October 26, 2017

 

Woolstores

 

Brand-new plans for the development of the Fremantle Woolstores shopping centre at Cantonment Street by Silverleaf are out and open for public submissions, so check out the City of Fremantle website.

The proposal is for a 4-10 storey mixed-use complex that would have shops, a market, a tavern, offices, student and aged-care accommodation, a carpark, etc.

There would be 799 car bays, 141 hotel rooms, 261 student accommodation and 155 retirement units.

 

Roel Loopers

TINY FREMANTLE HOTEL PLANS

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, fremantle markets, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on October 19, 2017

 

warder_cottage_image

 

The City of Fremantle is already a leader in tiny houses development, but now there is an application at the City for what might become the smallest hotel in Australia.

East Fremantle Matthew Crawford Architects have applied for a development license for an eleven-room hotel in the heritage-listed Warders Cottages in the Henderson Street mall adjacent to the Fremantle Markets.

They would renovate the cottages and also build a dining and bar area between the cottages and the markets, plus on-side parking.

The application is for 19-29 Henderson Street, which runs from William Street to the market laneway. The laneway would become the main entrance to the hotel.

The development decision will be made by the WA Development Assessment Panel, not by Fremantle Council.

You can see the plans on the City of Fremantle website. Submissions for or against the proposal need to be in by November 10.

 

Roel Loopers

Roel for City Ward!

 

THE IMPACT OF FREMANTLE PLACEMAKING

Posted in city of fremantle, community, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on October 13, 2017

 

There were so many posts on Twitter yesterday about placemaking, that I contemplated overnight what the modern buzzword actually means in the context of local government and a small city like Fremantle.

Placemaking should not be about beautifying small pockets of the city, but should be about awareness of the whole and the reality that everything we do impacts on others, either positively or negatively. That really is the big challenge for local government to deal with.

An event will please many thousands of people, but can negatively impact on local residents or traders, as there will be noise, parking and traffic problems, so while it pleases some it upsets others.

At planning meetings we constantly hear people opposing development next to where they live, with claims of loss of privacy, overshadowing, etc. so whichever way council decide it will upset one of the parties.

Traffic-calming in South Fremantle might please most locals, but it could alter the flow of traffic to the CBD and have a negative impact on traders there. What is the right placemaking decision?

Placemaking is about wholeness, and making good choices for the common good, even if that upsets those with a NIMBY attitude. It requires courage of councillors to make the ‘right’ decisions, because the decisions they’ll make will never be right for everyone in the community. That’s the nature of us human beings that we never all agree on everything.

When I hear election candidates naively state that they will do what the community want, my immediate question is which part of the community do they mean, because there will be opposing views in the community. Councillors will have to vote one way or the other, displeasing those who are opposed to it.

It comes down to how much, and how negatively or how positively decisions we make in life impact on others. Loud parties, noise, dog barking, anti-social behaviour, where we park our car in the street we live, etc. it all impacts on others. So to make the right decisions we need to be considerate and constantly aware that our great personal lifestyle might not be considered so great by our neighbours.

What might be a good event that benefits local traders, could well have a negative impact on those who live nearby, and events can also be detrimental for local traders, so how do we find the right balance of placemaking in local government?

The Australian Hotel Association claimed in a survey they sent to local government election candidates that pop-ups negatively impact on their members, but surely that statement is not true for all pop-up events and for all pubs, restaurants, cafes and bars around Fremantle, because many of them benefit from events, even from markets, as they attract many more people to the area than would normally visit.

Should we embrace multi-storey development in the inner city to boost the local economy, or should we preserve the human-scale character of place, even in the run down east of the CBD that looks desolate and uninviting? What is the right placemaking and balance? You will hear very opposing views about that in the community.

Placemaking for me is about being extremely sensitive and understanding that there is no way in the world we can please everyone, and it is about not being selfish, and learning to acknowledge that the common good has priority over individual needs.

I know that it very difficult to accept when it impacts on one’s own life or business, but it is the only way good placemaking can become good governance, and hopefully council can take the majority of the community with them on the very challenging and delicate journey of progress, revitalisation and modernisation.

It is easy to understand that being a local councillor can be a very thankless task, so one has to admire all who nominated for this election.

VOTE to show you care about your community!

 

Roel Loopers

Vote Roel for City Ward!

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LIFESTYLE PROTECTION FOR FREO’S EAST END

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on September 5, 2017

 

 

Freo’s View reader David, who lives in the East End of the Fremantle CBD, commented that my letter in the West Australian last week indicated I had an anything goes attitude to that part of the city, as far as development is concerned, but nothing could be further from the truth.

I strongly believe the entire inner city demands excellent buildings that respect the unique heritage character of Fremantle, and I have expressed this many times here on the blog and in verbal and written submissions to Council.

While there is huge development potential, considerations needs to be given to the heritage buildings and streetscapes in the East End of town, where we have the beautiful Victoria Hall, Basilica, Boy’s School, Railway Station, etc.

And I believe that we need to protect the lifestyle of inner city residents, and Council needs to manage it better.

I objected to the architectural blandness of the Hilton Doubletree hotel, the proposed boring development between the Australia Hotel and St Patrick’s, and the mediocrity of the eight-story Spotlight site development.

When Defence Housing showed their initial plans at Kings Square for the six-storey LIV development at Queen Victoria Street, I suggested to one of the architects that the facade was far too long and needed to be broken up, which was met with a what would you know stare from the tall expert.

It was interesting then to read comments by the City’s Design Advisory Committee a few months later, who recommended exactly what I had done, that the facade needed to be split up. This has now been done with a large gap that creates a community piazza all the way to Quarry Street, but it should have been more with more attention to detail.

I would still have liked to see stronger vertical features on the LIV building, that would juxtaposed more with the majestic verticality of the Heirloom building opposite it.

The Fremantle Society fought under my presidency very hard against Planning Scheme Amendment 49 and the inappropriate height in some of the 13 locations. We had a scale model in the Adelaide Piazza and Woolstores to show the public what would happen, but it was to no avail and now the Woolstores shopping centre site could go up as high as eleven storeys.

The major problem I see with bureaucrats having a broad-brush approach to an area is that it stifles architectural excellence. In the right location and with great design, a cupola feature or something alike on a higher building might well look much better, even when it is a few metres higher than the planning scheme allows.

I don’t have a general objection to height in the east of the Fremantle CBD and believe it should all depend on how creative a building is and how it enhances the spatial amenity and streetscape.

For example the six-storey building on the corner of Cantonment and Parry Street, opposite the Australia Hotel, is good Freo human scale for me, because it has very attractive features, round corners and some tower like structures, instead of a boring flat roof. It does not appear to be too high because of that, but a square boring concrete box of the same height might well have been inappropriate and look too big for that corner site.

The issues with flexibility of course is that it would be very hard for planning departments to work with, developers would try to take advantage, and JDAP and SAT could allow inappropriate buildings because there is no planning scheme that disallows them. That is a big dilemma.

As it stands, the rules and regulations more often than not restrict creative design, because the attitude is that you can’t have a 2-4 metre feature sticking out above the allowed height. Somehow we need to get around that, so that we’ll get more excellent architecture in Fremantle.

Let’s have a symposium about what desirable design for Freo would be, and not just focus on height.

Roel Loopers

POSITIVE FUTURE FOR FREMANTLE

Posted in city of fremantle, development, kings square, sirona capital, Uncategorized by freoview on September 1, 2017

 

AA

 

The ceremonial start of the Fremantle Kings Square Project development by Sirona Capital was held this Friday morning, with WA Treasurer Ben Wyatt, Housing Minister Peter Tinley, Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt and Sirona Managing Director Matthew McNeilly.

The electronic and print media also turned up en-masse, and Minister for Women Simone McGurk, Federal MP Josh Wilson, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Olwyn Williams, attended, as did many Freo councillors and staff.

A special mention should go to former City of Fremantle CEO Graeme McKenzie, who did a lot of the hard work and preparations for this game-changing project. Nice to see him present!

The $ 270 millions project will deliver 25,800sqm of new commercial office and retail space, plus a new civic centre for the City. This is the largest infrastructure project in Fremantle’s history!

More than 1,00 fulltime workers will be working in the construction of the project.

Once completed Kings Square will have more than 2,000 people working there, which represents a 13% boost in the number of workers in the Fremantle CBD.

Sirona’s Matthew McNeilly said the development was an indication of Fremantle Council’s courage and desire to revitalise the city.

I am personally delighted that this huge project is finally under way, after so many years of waiting and hoping.

Those who believe that this project will not have a massive positive impact on Fremantle should stay in bed and contemplate their miserable negative existence. : >)

Roel Loopers

FREO KINGS SQUARE PROJECT NEAR START

Posted in city of fremantle, kings square, sirona capital, Uncategorized by freoview on August 29, 2017

 

KS fences

 

Fences are being put up this week around the Fremantle Kings Square Project for the start of the demolition of the Queensgate building, and the renovations and new facades of the former Myer building and carpark by Sirona Capital.

The fences are temporary ones, until more visually attractive fences have been created.

The City of Fremantle administration building will be demolished in January next year.

This is such a game-changing project for our city that I am really excited about. It will massively activate Kings Square and the surrounding streets and will be a real boost to our retail and hospitality industries and the city’s economy.

Fremantle is experiencing a very welcome unprecedented development boom and investment in our city, as a result of our Council actively promoting and encouraging Freo as a pro development city.

Not all the building we are getting are outstanding though, so we need to be careful not to get cheap and cheerful boring concrete boxes.

We are well on the way to great progress and the modernisation of the Fremantle CBD, that has been stagnant and tired for decades.

Roel Loopers

 

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AWFUL CIVIC CENTRE ARCHITECTURE CLAIM

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, fremantle society,, Uncategorized by freoview on August 26, 2017

 

kings-square-7

 

The always negative emails from Fremantle Society president John Dowson to its members this time attacks the professionalism of internationally renowned Kerry Hill Architects, who designed the new City of Fremantle Civic Centre at Kings Square.

JD quotes Fremantle architect Ron Campbell who wrote to the Society that “whoever is pushing the design is making it more expensive and less of a civic building.” 

Campbell also claims the architecture is awful. JD wrote:

“Rob Campbell is concerned with the sharp angular nature of the building, especially when viewed from the corner of High and Newman Streets (near the crosswalk next to Myer). He said the sharp angular turn of the building at such an acute angle is “architecturally awful and not in the Fremantle tradition. It is a terrible mistake which undermines the architectural presentation.”  He said it was council playing developer and not creating a civic space, because that awkward corner retail space would be difficult to rent and would compete with the adjacent Sirona development.” 

The sharp angle of the building is very simply explained. It keeps the sightlines of Newman Court and the High Street reserve clear and legible, and that makes a lot of sense. Newman Court is now clearly defined, as is the High Street reserve that separates the St John’s triangle from the City triangle.

I wished the Society had a more positive platform than just blasting anything Fremantle Council does.

Roel Loopers

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