Freo's View

FREO BILLBOARD ART MADE OUT OF DECAY

Posted in art, fremantle, photography by freoview on April 27, 2015

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Whenever I conduct one of my ROEL’S FREMANTLE PHOTO TOURS I always stress that photography is all about awareness, being in the moment and being observant. I point out details, changes in light and shadows, reflections in windows, etc. Photography for me is all about discovery and having an eye to see a good photo in the forrest of visual pollution around us.

Today I walked past this empty billboard wall, but it had become it’s own public artwork from the remnants of posters stuck there previously. How many of you have walked, cycled or driven past that South Fremantle wall without noticing the beauty of it?

Roel Loopers

ARCHITECTURAL EXCELLENCE CREATES A BETTER FUTURE

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development by freoview on February 10, 2015

The City of Fremantle should follow the lead of the Perth Design Advisory Committee, who have recommended that the City of Perth introduces a strategy to address the architectural quality of new development. Both cities often approve very mediocre buildings, that have little to none architectural merit and that lack creativity and grandeur because developers are more interested in fast and cheap than in beautiful and great.

The Perth DAC said that building applications “often do not demonstrate a finesse, expertise or mastery of design.” The DAC also said that developers are not interested in the amenity, layout or interface with the public realm. That is very much the kind of criticism development in Fremantle often receives from the public and community groups.

One of the main problems I see in Fremantle is the pressure put on Council by developers who threaten to walk away from development unless it is approved fast and additional height granted. Councillors panic and rather approve mediocrity than not getting the much-needed development. The impact on the streetscape, the heritage amenity, the lack of public open space are all pushed aside and too often we hear Elected Members say in Chamber that the changes to the plans are ” close and getting there” and that the application should be approved, although it is far away from excellence.

Because we had so little development in Fremantle for many years, Councillors and Planning staff appear too eager to compromise and let developers get away with boring and inappropriate buildings, some even citing the development’s economic viability as a reason to approve a bland building instead of insisting on outstanding architecture.

Developers often complain about the long process of planning approval, but there is a good and fast way around that; submit plans for great buildings from the start and don’t try to get away with murder by applying for inappropriate height and bulk that has no reference to or respect for the amenity of our city!

Buildings of architectural excellence attract people to cities, while ugly and boring ones deter visitors, so in the long run insisting on high quality buildings is better for the City’s economy.

Roel Loopers

FINDING BEAUTY IN EVERYTHING

Posted in fremantle, photography by freoview on September 14, 2014

I conducted a Roel’s Fremantle Photo Tours yesterday with Kate and Paul, and it is always interesting to see what variety of images one picks up during a slow stroll through the Fremantle, looking for interesting photos.

I got this double reflection of the Town Hall in a wedding car, the lovely heron patiently waiting for a feed at the Maritime Museum, and two colourful ladies watching the fun at the Esplanade Youth Plaza.

Photography is a great hobby to help you concentrate on the moment. It’s a bit like meditation for me and being acutely aware of what goes on around you, finding beauty in just about everything.

So be creative, explore your surroundings, and go take some photos today!

Roel Loopers

ONLY THE BEST WILL DO FOR FREMANTLE

Posted in city of fremantle by freoview on August 30, 2014

There has been an interesting discussion going on on Freo’s View about development in Fremantle, with Mayor Brad Pettitt engaging, but also architect Murray Slavin and former COF Manager Economic Affairs and Marketing Andrew Eastick.

I expressed my concerns after Wednesday’s full Council meeting that the Mayor was too eager to compromise on the proposed Atwell Arcade development just to get some momentum going in the inner city. While even staunch development advocate Councillor Bill Massie said the proposal was unacceptable, Brad Pettitt, who has just been appointed to the board of the State’s Heritage Council, was quite happy to get minor adjustments made and let the decision rest with the CEO. However Councillor Andrew Sullivan said significant changes were required before the development should be passed. The Mayor did at the end vote with the rest to defer the application back to the Design Advisory Committee and a full Council decision.

In comments to this blog the Mayor wrote that the often advocated approach to saying no and/or less has put Fremantle in the economic situation it is in and that the Point Street Hilton Hotel development will be much better than what is there now.

Let me make these points, that there is nothing wrong with demanding the best and that accepting mediocre buildings will harm Fremantle in the long run. The argument that anything is better than the status quo is saying a shed is better than a ruin, so as long as there is progress it is good. That to me is the wrong attitude for a local council to have. As North Fremantle architect Murray Slavin wrote, if we expect mediocrity we will get less than mediocre.

I understand the Mayor is in a bit of panic mode. The delay of the Kings Square development is a real worry for Fremantle, so to get any new buildings up fast is being seen as positive, but I warn against that because that will give power to developers who will realise this council will do just about anything to get Fremantle moving, so they will try to get away with higher, uglier and cheaper buildings. Fremantle deserves, and should demand, much better than that!

My personal belief is that this Council is on the right track. Economic development is essential for our city, as is having more people living in the CBD. It is imperative that retail gets a boost with more variety shops, big-name players, franchises, etc. But we need to remain realistic. We can build as much office space as possible but who is going to move to Fremantle. BHP and Woodside are unlikely to come here, and the large law firms like to be near the courts, mining companies are downsizing and there are hundreds of thousands of square metres of vacant office space in Perth and West Pert, all up for grabs at substantially reduced rent, so what is the special attraction to move into Fremantle?

What Freo should not ignore is trying to get more attractions for tourists. 120,000 visit the Visitor Centre each year. Many ask what else there is to do after the museums, Round House and Fishing Boat Harbour, and the answer is not much else really but a trip to Rottnest, the Arts Centre and the beaches.

This is not an attempt at ‘Brad bashing’. I actually like our Mayor and don’t believe he is the big bad wolf who is out to destroy our city, but I feel he is so desperate to see Fremantle grow that he sometimes loses perspective on how to achieve that better. Accepting bad because it is better than what is there at the moment, is not a professional way of governance. Accepting buildings that are visually unattractive and have no aesthetic appeal should be a big nono for Fremantle, a unique city with great character, lauded by visitors for its outstanding heritage buildings. Five star green rating does not compensate for ugliness.

Let’s not panic, Rome was not built in a day and we do need to take the time to get it right. We owe that to future generations. And let’s hope that a large government department or multinational will sign a lease for the former Myer building soon, so that the essential Kings Square development can get started asap.

Roel Loopers

HERITAGE TEACHES THE VALUE OF BEAUTY

Posted in fremantle, heritage by freoview on August 10, 2014

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With Fremantle progressing to a bigger and more modern city, we often hear from those who want development at any cost and at any height that embracing our heritage is detrimental to the future of our city. I believe the exact opposite is true and want to shout it out loud.

HERITAGE IS NOT BAD FOR PROGRESS, IT TEACHES US THAT THE PRICE OF PROGRESS IS BEAUTY!

Roel Loopers

I AM FEELING THE BLUES

Posted in art, fremantle, photography by freoview on July 5, 2014

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In 1990 I had my first photo exhibition in Australia. It was a solo show at the Delaney Galleries in Beaufort Street in Perth. The Out of the Blues show was well received but I only sold two photos out of the 34 on display. The show travelled to the Geraldton Art Gallery and the Extravaganza Gallery in Albany, and in early 1991 it was shown as Blue Fire in the Keresztes Gallery in Nuremberg, West Germany where, to my great delight, it was a sell out exhibition.

The exhibition was all about manmade structures against the stunning blue Western Australian sky and quite abstract and minimalist.

Noticing this wall, hit by very bright sunlight this morning, I was reminded that life has got great and bad moments, but that on balance it is probably alright for many of us.

It’s a stunning day out there in Fremantle, so go for a walk, sit in one of the alfresco cafes and have a meal. Feel that sense of belonging to our great little Freo community.

Roel Loopers

ROEL’S FREMANTLE PHOTO TOURS

Bookings: Text 0419 850981. Email: roel.loopers@iinet.net.au

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SUNSET MAKES MUNDANE LOOK GOOD

Posted in fremantle, photography by freoview on April 11, 2014

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When one looks out for it, one can find beauty is nearly everything, as I discovered yesterday yet again. I was taking photos of the sunset at Fremantle Bathers Beach when I turned around to see the intense warm sun light on the building site of the former Fishermen’s Co-op building, that is being developed into a tavern and restaurant. It’s a real joy for a photographer to make something mundane look interesting.

Roel Loopers

MAGICAL FREMANTLE NIGHT MARKETS

Posted in fremantle by freoview on January 26, 2014

I have always liked markets. My dad and I would often go to the Saturday markets in Hague, Holland in the morning and always ended up in the market pub where dad had a couple of beers and I got patat met kroketten (chips and beef croquettes). No matter which countries I visited on my holidays, if there was a market nearby it was a must do on my agenda.

Evening markets are even better. There is a sense of romance about it when all the stalls light up in different colours. It reminds me of the kermis(fair) we had at home. While it was exciting to go during the day, it was magic to go there at night for us kids, and I still have that same experience now.

Last night’s Fremantle Bathers Beach Sunset Food Markets was just magic. It was perfect harmony of people, nature, food, music and ambience. I accept I am a little biased because I help organise the event, but I would give the same credit if someone else organised it. It is so stunningly Freo, so relaxed, and it is so good to see so many smiles and people saying how much they love the markets.

For us fellas it is a bit like being in paradise as well. Aren’t we lucky that we live in a city that has such an abundance of stunningly gorgeous women. It was an absolute feast for the eyes last night.

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE PUDDLE ART

Posted in fremantle by freoview on July 18, 2012

Maybe the last puddle in Fremantle’s Phillimore Street for quite some time, with  sunny days ahead of us. Just to show there is so much beauty around us if we are willing to open our eyes and look for it.

The glass in Fremantle is not half full, it’s overflowing, or maybe that is just because I don’t drink fast enough. 9 >)

Roel Loopers

Phillimore Street in Fremantle, Western Australia

FREO’S WONDERFUL WEST END

Posted in fremantle by freoview on July 17, 2012

Things are progressing well to make the West End of Fremantle more vibrant. In Pakenham Street the bakery, bar, restaurant is starting to look pretty good, while Steve Wood at Jarrah Corp has put his application for a liquor license in to also create a wine bar on the corner of Pakenham and High streets. On top of that we will also be getting a micro brewery at the former McDonalds, Dome site at Bathers Beach.

Walking through High Street this morning I though what a difference a good street profile and window display makes to the appeal of a shop. Have a look at the B&M Store window dressing. It is gorgeous and so are the stunning big bags. Karteque and Djura always look very appealing and so does Love in Tokyo.

Anyone who sees me knows I am not a fashion freak, people probably describe me more as daggy, but I love Sheree Dornan‘s very feminine clothes at Love in Tokyo and hope my next lover will be wearing her designs. A reason for more hugs!

On the other side of the street is Bill Campbell‘s second hand bookshop. It is so homely that I’d love to live their.

The West End has got many hidden treasures, so go for a treasure hunt on a gorgeous day like today and check out the gems. Freo’s Wonderful West End is a special place to visit, shop and relax.

Roel Loopers

The development of a bakery, bar and restaurant in Pakenham Street

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