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.

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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

 

 

MANNING BUILDINGS DEVELOPMENT BEFORE PLANNING COMMITTEE

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on January 6, 2018

 

The proposal for the development and part demolition of the Manning buildings will come before the City of Fremantle Planning Committee this Wednesday January 10 at 6pm.

The plans by developers Silverleaf include a 250 patron dining area and 250 patron tavern and a micro-brewery, as well as office and retail accommodation.

The approval authority for the $ 10 million project is the WA Joint Development Assessment Panel. The City of Fremantle Officer’s Recommendation to the CoF Planning Committee is to recommend the conditional approval of the three storey development, that will retain the Manning Arcade between the High Street mall and Paddy Troy Lane.

The modernisation of the Frematle CBD is inevitable and should in general be welcomed I believe, as long as new development proposals are considerate of the heritage character of the inner city.

Silverleaf is a major player in Fremantle and therefore has an obligation to the community to do excellent and attractive development.

While Silverleaf is applying for the Manning development, and soon will be applying for the development of the Woolstores shopping centre and Justice and Police complex in Henderson Street, it still has not completed the development of the Attwell Arcade building and installed all the cladding on the four-storey building.

Completion of the Atwell development should be a requirement by the City of Fremantle before Silverleaf gets approval for any new development in Fremantle.

The planning officers also recommend the requirement of a photographic archival record of the existing building, but that should be amended to a professional high-resolution photographic archival record, as we might otherwise end up with useless low-res amateur photos.

Council meetings will be held at the North Fremantle Community Centre at Thompson Road during the Kings Square Project construction and start at 6 pm.

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

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

STATE HERITAGE GRANTS AVAILABLE

Posted in architecture, buildings, city of fremantle, Uncategorized by freoview on September 13, 2017

 

Private owners of State Registered heritage places are invited to apply for a share of $1.2 million to assist with urgent conservation works to their properties.

The Heritage Council of Western Australia‘s Heritage Grants Program offers dollar-for-dollar funding for grants of up to $100,000, including for conservation plans to help guide works.

Last year, 13 metropolitan and 15 regional places shared in grant funding which, when combined with owner contributions, generated almost $3 million in conservation works.

The Heritage Grants Program is one of the few grants programs in Australia that assists private owners with the costs associated with maintaining heritage places.

Since the Heritage Grants Program’s inception in 1997, 745 heritage projects have received grants totalling more than $18 million.

Applications for the 2017-18 Heritage Grants Program are open until 12pm Tuesday October 31, 2017 and successful applicants will be announced in early 2018.

 

Roel Loopers

VOTE ROEL FOR CITY WARD!

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FREO WANTS CREATIVE ARCHITECTURE

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on June 7, 2017

 

 

One of the pleasures of living in Fremantle is that one bumps into many people when one wanders the streets, so I was delighted to have a coffee and chat with architect Murray Slavin on the weekend, when he was walking his great dog that loves carrots.

Of course  when Murray and I catch up architecture and development in Fremantle is on the agenda.

I have been thinking for quite a few years why it is that modern development in Fremantle is mainly functional and often not very attractive. We get concrete square boxes instead of heritage of the future buildings.

Too many modern buildings lack attention to detail, there is no softness, no round shapes, just 90 degree corner angles. There are no features and no accentuation of great craftsmanship.

I am not suggesting at all that I would like to see mock heritage, but why don’t developers build small spikes, cupolas, towers, verandahs instead of boring awnings, different shaped  balconies and windows.

Why are there not more architectural features that become the new public art and are part of the building, instead of adding-sometimes inappropriate-art as an after thought.

And why is an eight-storey building just that and hardly ever a building that varies in height and becomes more attractive that way? A roof garden does not have to be on the top, it could be part of the third or fourth floor.

Facades of large development should be split up so that it looks as if there is more than just the one building and it creates a rhythm along the streetscape.

Existing streetscapes are mostly ignored and not respected in this selfie-period of architecture and look at me design, rather that adding to the spatial realm.

Unfortunately planning rules are very restrictive and local governments can’t really not approve building because they are not beautiful enough. I hope state government will improve the rules before we end up with a visual disaster.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE CONSERVATION WORK GOING TO PLAN

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on May 10, 2017

 

Union Stores

 

Freo’s View reader Kel sent me some photos and complained about the condition of the historic Fremantle Unions Stores building on the corner of High and Henry streets, saying he feared the conservation work the City had conducted was not done properly and the same deterioration might happen to the Townhall.

I asked the Heritage Department of CoF for a detailed response and received this reassuring explanation:

UNION STORES
Since 2012 there has been an ongoing programme of works to conserve the Union Stores, to address various compliance issues and to upgrade services.
– 2013 – A safe roof access system was installed to allow for regular maintenance of the roof, gutters and air conditioning and also for undertaking conservation works in the following year.
– 2014 – Urgent structural repairs carried out to the parapets and gables. Parapets and gables conserved along with the deteriorated projecting flat surfaces of window sills, cornices and parapet copings. Street verandahs (reconstructed 1987) repaired and strengthened.
– 2015 – Electrical distribution board and fire systems upgraded and the rear verandah (1987) repaired and strengthened.
– 2016 – Ventilation of the basement improved to reduce damp and humidity to protect ground floor timbers and reduce problems with rising damp.

These works are part of the orderly process for the conservation and care of the City’s portfolio of heritage assets. The intention is to address building conservation in a manner that considers levels of urgency, economies of scale, correct sequence and good conservation practice. Many of these items of work will not be conspicuous but are vital to the conservation and long-term sustainability of these important heritage buildings for present and future generations.

Future works are planned to continue the conservation of the building facades once the moisture has evaporated from the walls and the damaging salts have migrated to the surface.

2014 Urgent Conservation Works
During 2012 and 2013 the poor condition of the rear of the parapets of the Union Stores was discovered and remedial works were planned for 2014. These parapets had become unstable due to the deterioration of the soft clay bricks – deterioration that had been exacerbated by well-meaning but inappropriate repairs in the 1980s as well as the painting of the building facades from the 1960s onwards.

Like the Fremantle Town Hall, damaging salts and moisture had seeped into the walls through hairline cracks and were trapped in the walls by cement render and plastic paints. The entrapped salts and moisture led to the deterioration of the soft clay bricks and lime mortar of the wall itself and caused embedded iron pins in decorative mouldings and structural bolts and plates to rust and expand causing cracking in the walls. To address this problem the paint and cement renders were removed to allow the walls to breathe and new repairs made use of breathable lime mortars, hydraulic lime renders and lime wash finishes.

However, the construction and condition of the Unions Stores was different to the Town Hall and required a different approach for its conservation. Removing the paint from the parapets was more difficult because the stucco surface was softer and in poorer condition. Also the early use of calcimine paint and lime wash on the building meant that although the walls could breathe well, not all of the pigment could be successfully removed.

The biggest difference however, was the volume of salt escaping from the walls. Almost immediately after the removal of paint and cement render from the parapets of the union stores large amounts of salt began to crystallise on the surface of the parapets. Within the same timeframe there was only a small amount of discolouration from salt at the Fremantle Town Hall. While the appearance of salt on the surface is good because it shows that the walls are healing themselves, when there is a large amount of salt it needs to be managed to minimise damage to the surface of the stucco. For this reason a sacrificial coating of lime wash was applied to the surface of the conserved areas so that the salt would crystallise on the lime wash causing it to decay rather than the stucco. The building was then left to gradually dry out expel the salts before any further works were undertaken.

Now in 2017 the salt crystals and some of the decayed lime wash has been washed off the Union Stores leaving the parapets looking somewhat patchy but in much better physical condition. This means that when further conservation works are undertaken in the future they will not be affected by salt damage.

We expect that the Fremantle Town Hall will suffer some deterioration from escaping salts as the walls breathe again but it will not be as significant as the Union Stores. Also, because the removal of paint from the stucco at the town hall was more successful, when there is some deterioration it will be less obvious as it will be the same colour as the surrounding stucco.

The Fremantle Townhall will officially be unveiled on Friday May 26 at 11.30 am at the start of the Heritage Festival. It looks absolutely stunning!

STUNNING TOWNHALL CONSERVATION WORK

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, conversation, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on May 3, 2017

Fremantle Townhall

 

Someone should get a heritage award for the stunning conservation work that has been done on the Fremantle Townhall.

The last details are being attended to before the entire building will be revealed at the start of Fremantle Heritage Week.

The buildings is now so delightfully beautiful and a real icon in our city.

If parts of it look patchy that is good, as it is a sign the building is now healing itself and getting rid of accumulated salt.

Well done everyone involved and a big thank you to the City of Fremantle heritage department!

Roel Loopers

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