Freo's View

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!

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

GREAT LOOKING FREO TOWNHALL REVEALED

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, heritage by freoview on April 6, 2017

 

The clock tower of the Fremantle Townhall is slowly being revealed after extensive conservation works and I am excited how good it looks in the earthy tones.

It has cost a lot of money but I believe it was well worth it.

Roel Loopers

Comments Off on GREAT LOOKING FREO TOWNHALL REVEALED

FOUR FREMANTLE HERITAGE AWARDS FINALISTS

Posted in architecture, fremantle, heritage, western australia by freoview on January 31, 2017

The WA Heritage Awards 2017 finalists were announced today and Fremantle is well represented.

The Gunners Cottages at Cantonment Hill, the Heirloom by Match of the Dalgety woolstores, Hillcrest in North Fremantle, the Mediterranean Shipping Company Wilhelmsen House at Cliff Street, and just south of Freo the former Coogee hotel and post office have also been nominated.

Well done to all and may the best adaptive reuse of a heritage-listed building win!

Roel Loopers

Comments Off on FOUR FREMANTLE HERITAGE AWARDS FINALISTS

FREMANTLE KINGS SQUARE PROJECT DESIGN

Posted in city of fremantle, development, kings square, planning by freoview on January 25, 2017

Ordinary Council of the City of Fremantle will this evening debate the design of the Kings Square project buildings and if it should recommend approval to the State’s Joint Development Assessment Panel, which is the decision-making authority for the development.

Most important for me here are the comments by the City’s Design Advisory Committee, and they have several issues with some details of the proposal.

While the DAC says they are overall in support of the proposal and opportunities this brings to the retail core of the city centre, they believe that improvements can and should be made, so I suggest Council defers the matter until the architects have made the changes the DAC has suggested.

The DAC clearly states that the design is at a stage where the committee cannot recommend support or not for the proposal and they need to get more refined and detailed plans before making a recommendation.

I support the Kings Square project but it is such a huge and significant development for Fremantle that we need to get this right and every detail is fine-tuned before Council should recommend approval.

The height is within Planning Scheme Amendment 49, so not much use arguing about that now, but for the developers to show a night shot with lots of people on the roof is bad and unnecessary spin, since this is an office building that will not be occupied after office hours, but for maybe a couple of office parties each year.

Let’s stick with the facts, and that for me this is the most essential development project for Fremantle in its aim for economic recovery. Let’s do it well and make it a new attractive feature for our city!

Roel Loopers

 

FREO’S PLANNING PROCESS NEEDS IMPROVEMENT

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, local government, planning by freoview on January 13, 2017

18-22-adelaide-street-development-plans

 

At the Planning Commission on Wednesday evening the Chair of the City of Fremantle’s Design Advisory Committee Professor Geoffrey London expressed concerns about the proposed building for 18-22 Adelaide Street and how it would impact on the public realm, etc.

It made me wonder if the planning process needs to be adjusted to give more power to the DAC and make developers and their architects aware that unless the DAC suggested changes to the design are made the building application will not progress and be put in front of the Elected Members.

It is a waste of time to bring a planning approval to the Councillors when the expert architect panel is not happy with the design plans, hence the deferrals and delays we are getting and applicants are upset about.

It seems very strange that the DAC still has concerns but the planning and heritage officers recommended approval for the in my opinion totally unsuitable building for historic Kings Square.

It is likely there are inflated egos involved in the process and architects not wanting to take advise from other architects who are on the DAC, but tough titties to those who design shit and want us to believe we are looking at red roses.

I cannot at all understand that planning officers recommend approval when DAC architects have serious concerns, and the idea that this can be sorted after planning approval has been given is ridiculous because the developers will believe they got away with it.

In this case the developer is expecting discretionary additional height for an boring, ugly box and wants even more reward for building rubbish by asking to be exempt from paying the percentage for art/heritage sum.

Kings Square is a very precious and historically significant area of Fremantle and nothing but the best is good enough. As Councillor Hannah Fitzhardinge said, we want beautiful buildings!

Roel Loopers

Comments Off on FREO’S PLANNING PROCESS NEEDS IMPROVEMENT

BUT IS IT HERITAGE PRESERVATION?

Posted in architecture, art, city of fremantle, development, heritage by freoview on December 19, 2016

pak-4

 

It was about three years ago I think that I addressed Fremantle Council on behalf of the Fremantle Society and objected to the proposed additional height for the Quest hotel development on the corner of Pakenham and Short streets.

When the agenda item was debated the then Director of Planning Phil StJohn specifically addressed the issues I had raised and convinced me that by granting discretionary extra height the interior heritage identity of the building would be best preserved.

Having had a look inside the just opened serviced apartment hotel I now believe I got sucked in with empty promises, as there is little evidence of heritage preservation inside the building.

The foyer is modern and bland and has no reference to heritage that I could see, while the courtyard has a few of the old metal pillars reinstated, after the building was gutted for the development, but it shows nothing of the former warehouse character.

The huge glass entrance door and the oversized Quest sign in Pakenham Street are also disrespectful of the heritage building.

The ‘Manning’s Folly’ blue artwork on the facade is out of character and the wrong colour for the building. The concept behind the work is irrelevant when it does not compliment the rest of the building.

Is this the best we can do when we talk about heritage preservation, and what again what the reason for the additional-and inappropriate!-height allowance?

Roel Loopers

LET’S TALK ABOUT THE NEW FACE OF FREMANTLE

Posted in architecture, buildings, city of fremantle, development by freoview on December 15, 2016

The development boom in Fremantle is positive but it is also a timely reminder that we need to have a discussion in Freo about what sort of development we want because it is too general to say we want to protect the unique heritage character of our city.

There should not be a blanket approach to density, hight, building design, etc. because to have a real positive impact we need to localise planning laws more so that there is more emphasis on the streetscape and specific areas.

Even in the heritage West End there are buildings that should never have been erected and disappointing streetscapes, so we need to have a community debate on how we can avoid ugliness and inappropriate architecture.

I talked to a well-known architect the other day who said he liked the new building on the corner of Pakenham and Bannister streets, while I think it is awfully mediocre. Another architect does not like the new MSC building in Cliff Street, but I love it, so how do we find compromises that are more acceptable to the wider community? Clearly personal taste won’t do.

We often talk only about the hight and human scale of buildings, but we should not generalise there because east of Queen Street a bit of extra height will do no harm in my opinion, while west of it we should not compromise above four storeys. There is no need for extra height in the West End but it is acceptable in the East End, I believe.

The planning requirement of set-back above certain heights can also be counter productive as it often has a negative impact on the design and the cohesion of a building. Set-backs often look like an after thought that does not fit in well with the rest of the building.

Fremantle’s Design Advisory Committee seems to be a bit of a lame duck when one considers some of the buildings approved by the City of Fremantle. The fact that Notre Dame University has been working with the DAC and planning staff for many months, but is still seeking approval for an inappropriate and boring five-storey building on the corner of High and Cliff streets, shows that the process is flawed because UNDA should have been told much earlier that their plans are not acceptable.

I agree that not every building can or should be iconic, but if we are serious about wanting to build heritage of the future buildings in Fremantle we need to do a whole lot better than what we have been doing in the last three years.

There is also a flaw in the percentage for the art scheme when developers can just add art to the new building facade to satisfy that requirement, as we see in Pakenham Street at the Quest Hotel. I don’t believe that was the initial idea for the art scheme, as it should be true public art and not a clever way by developers of avoiding it.

Open-minded and mature debate is needed to decide Fremantle’s future look, so let’s have some public forums in 2017 with architects, city planners and place makers, ideally from outside Freo, so that we don’t hear the same opinions we have already heard before. I would be very interested to hear State Architect Geoff Warne’s thoughts about Fremantle for example.

The community needs to be able to have input on what the new face of Fremantle should look like!

low-impact-development-uk

I put this artist impression from the UK here to show why we need to talk about development in Fremantle. This zero energy affordable residential development is considered low-impact high density there, while I believe it is very high impact. Something like this would be too over powering even on the Knutsford Street CoF depot site.

Roel Loopers

%d bloggers like this: