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

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

 

 

SILVER LINING FOR FREMANTLE

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

 

Only one more sleep and we are starting a new year, which will be a very significant one for Fremantle.

I am very optimistic about the future of our delightful port city, as 2018 will be a year of transition, change and consolidation for Freo.

Major development will start early in the year at Kings Square and other massive development is in the pipeline.

The large LIV apartment building at Queen Victoria Street will be completed toward the end of the year, and the Warders Cottages boutique hotel will be built next to the Fremantle Markets.

One of the major development players in town is Silverleaf, which are embarking on the huge development of the Woolstores shopping centre site, the Manning Building and the Police and Justice complex at Henderson Street.

Being one of the major developers responsible for future building Fremantle Silverleaf does not only have a real opportunity to make a big impact, but also have an obligation to create beauty and character in the CBD.

Silverleaf, Match, Sirona Capital, and other developers can create history by building exceptional heritage of the future buildings of creative architecture and old-fashion craftsmanship pride.

Cheap and cheerful concrete boxes with a bit of cladding to make them more appealing are not very Freo at all, and should be refused. There needs to be softness and roundness instead of square hard corners, and lovely features that makes building attractive.

Building modern Fremantle just a stone’s throw from the old heritage town comes with responsibility to do more than just watching the triple bottom financial line for investors. It comes with community demand for outstanding design and respect for Freo’s character and lifestyle.

It is just mindset and goodwill that are the difference between building boring mediocrity or classy high-quality eye-catchers!

Roel Loopers

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WOOLSTORES PLANS NOT DISTINCTIVE OR EXCEPTIONAL

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, Uncategorized by freoview on November 27, 2017

 

Woolstores

 

Retired North Fremantle architect Ken Adams has submitted his opinion about the Fremantle Woolstores development by Silverleaf for the Fremantle Society, that deserves to be shared with the wider community

It is quite detailed and hence long, so I have edited it a bit, but it is still long for a blog post.

Below are his excellent expert thoughts and opinion about the massive development:

Total Redevelopment of the Site is Welcome and offers a Great Opportunity.
It should be clear that a total redevelopment of the site is not merely welcome; it is well overdue. The replacement of the original woolstores building by the existing banal shopping centre, car parking and open servicing areas was, in urban design and other terms, a complete and unrelieved disaster.

The decision to redevelop the entire site offers a wonderful opportunity to undo that mistake and create a very positive development that will serve and greatly enhance the city centre. The opportunity must not be missed, nor should it in any way be compromised by confusing what may be permitted with what is best for Fremantle

The issues dealt with here are:

  • whether the general character, including proposed use , scale and form, is appropriate;

  • whether the building heights proposed are appropriate and whether the development meets the criteria for design excellence; and

  • whether the more detailed architectural design aspects are appropriate.

 
Context is Everything
The site occupies a pivotal position in the city’s townscape and activities, mediating between the major woolstore buildings (now converting, appropriately, to residential use) and the central business (essentially retail, entertainment and office) district.

Both the uses and character of development proposed for the subject site must recognise this pivotal position.

There are two buildings that set the benchmark for the height and scale of what should occur on the site. These are firstly and most critically, the superb Goldsborough Mort and Company Woolstores building immediately north of the site. The second is the relatively recent and modern building on the SE corner of Queen and Goldsborough Streets. Whatever happens on the site must recognise both the scale and character of these two buildings.

General Character and Form of the Development
It seems to me that a mixed use development of the site is most appropriate, because the site does mediate between the essentially business and essentially residential precincts of the city. For that reason, I support, in general terms, the mix proposed, including the replacement of the major supermarket, market hall, offices, significant active-frontage retail and other uses and housing for both active young adults and predominantly retired people.

Provision of active uses at the street frontages of Cantonment and Queen Streets is especially important, and supported. Goldsborough Street, currently a pedestrian desert, also offers the opportunity to become an active and very attractive street in future, especially with a future re-use of the Goldsborough Mort Woolstore building.

In general terms the most appropriate precedents for the overall scale and form of the redevelopment of this pivotal site lie with the adjacent Goldsborough Mort Woolstores building and in the memory of the site, itself a former wool store building of similar scale and mass to the Goldsborough Mort building and the other woolstores along Elder Place and Beach Street – the so-called “March of the Giants”.

These suggest a strong, perhaps even monolithic, well-defined mass. The proposed development largely achieves this, were it not for the superimposition of the two tower elements, one at either end, and the excessive size of gaps in the facades, compromising the continuity of the facades.

The unusually large size of the site also strongly suggests the provision of at least one public pedestrian access way through the site, in line with either the Westgate Mall entry, as proposed, or Point Street, or both.

This access way, however, should be completely permeable at ground level, ie it should provide a clear view through between Cantonment Street and Elder Place.

Building Height and Design Excellence
In my opinion the most beneficial height for development over the site would be set 
precisely at the level of the Goldsborough Mort Woolstores building, creating a  beautifully proportioned streetscape in Goldsborough Street. This level would appear to be close to the level that would generally result from the 21m height limit.

From an urban design perspective the most desirable streetscape outcome is unquestionably to maintain a consistent building height/level based on the level of the Goldsborough Mort Woolstores building. The 21m height level appears to be a good approximation of this. No extension of height above this visible from the adjacent streets would improve the appearance of the building.

The two proposed blocks of additional height, one at each end of the development, almost doubling the height of the development at those places, create an awkwardly balanced and poorly proportioned architectural composition.

Far from being a beneficial element, as claimed by the applicant’s report, they are significantly detrimental to the urban design outcome. That’s from a purely urban design perspective.

In order to gain approval for the additional height it is necessary for the applicant to demonstrate that the outcome would represent “Distinctive Architectural Design and Exceptional Design Quality”. The architectural design of the complex as a whole, and of the additional floors, is competent, but no more so than must be expected of any architect.

Distinctive” and “Exceptional Design Quality”, by definition, are terms that cannot be applied to any but a relative handful of buildings.

To gain some idea of what is required to reach these heights, one needs to look at examples of highly regarded contemporary buildings, notably those that have achieved awards of excellence. In the City of Perth Council House and the new City Library come to mind, as do 40 William Street and the Central Park development.

In Fremantle perhaps the proposed Kings Square redevelopment might meet the test. Could anyone seriously argue that the proposed Woolstores redevelopment would stand proudly alongside these?
Competent and attractive as the proposed development may be claimed to be it is neither “distinctive” nor of “exceptional design quality”, and hence does not pass the bar for the additional height concession.

It is neither “distinctive” nor of “exceptional design quality” and hence does not pass the bar for additional height concession.

I believe that Ken Adams sums it up pretty well and it is also my opinion of the development proposal.

Development of the ugly site is very welcome, but it needs to be of very good architectural design quality, and sadly the proposal is mediocre and uninspiring. Silverleaf need to come up with something much better and more balanced, because the two towers on either side create a severe imbalance that would look awful.

I agree with Ken Adams that there is nothing exceptional about the architecture and hence discretionary additional height should not be granted by Fremantle Council or the DAP.

Ken Adams received the prestigious Architects Board Award. He headed the Urban Design Section of the Town Planning Department. He was a founding member of CityVision in 1987 and has been Chairman since 2001. He was the consultant responsible for the most comprehensive study of Fremantle, carried out in 1979-80 for the purposes of establishing a comprehensive strategy for the City.

Roel Loopers

 

SIX STOREY PLANS FOR OLD FREMANTLE COURTHOUSE

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on November 17, 2017

 

 

Fremantle developers Silverleaf have submitted plans to the City of Fremantle for the development of the Henderson Street Police and Court complex and Warders Cottages.

The mixed-use plans include a six-storey (58 rooms) hotel, changing the former Courthouse into a bar and restaurant and the Warders Cottages and Police Station into assorted shop tenancies and commercial units.

Silverleaf’s proposals for the Manning Building also includes a tavern and micro-brewery and their plans for the Woolstores shopping centre site include a tavern as well, so I am not at all sure that Fremantle needs three new taverns in the CBD.

Check out the plans on Have Your Say on the City of Fremantle website.

 

Roel Loopers

SILVERLEAF BUYS FREMANTLE WOOLSTORES

Posted in development, fremantle by freoview on December 27, 2014

Developers with an S in their name appear to be the ones with confidence in Fremantle and willing to invest their money here. Sirona Capital has been involved with the Kings Square, Heirloom by Match, and Pakenham Street short-stay accommodation developments, but Gerard O’Brien’s Silverleaf Investments are giving them a run for their money.

According to retailers in the Woolstores Shopping Centre O’Brien came to introduce himself to them last week and to let them know he had bought the property. Silverleaf already owns the Target Building and the one opposite where the new 7/Eleven just opened, and they have started on the development of the Atwell Arcade in High Street as well. I think they own a few more properties in Freo central.

The big SALE day yesterday showed clearly that Fremantle no longer is a shopping destination, with the CBD almost deserted, while the Perth CBD and suburban shopping centres were overflowing with people. It is good to see developers wanting to revitalise the Freo retail market and office accommodation.

Roel Loopers

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