An article about young architects and city development in today’s Sunday Times magazine has me wondering about certain facts in the article.
Journalist Jade Jurewicz mentions successful architect Nic Brunsdon, who among many innovative things such as Spacemarket and MOANA also started the Many 6160 retail and design incubator in the former Myer building at Fremantle’s Kings Square.
The article claims that Many pumped $ 1.7 million into the Fremantle economy since it opened in 2013 and because of Many there has been a 25 per cent reduction in vandalism in the area.
Where do these figures come from? Many is only open for four days a week, so I doubt it has a severe impact on the reduction of vandalism at Kings Square and I doubt it is highly successful as a retail environment as one rarely sees shoppers in the building.
I like fresh new innovative ideas, but the fact is that many mini retailers tried Many and left because it was not financially successful for them. Many is more or less a slightly more upmarket weekend market where presumably many traders have more secure income on weekdays to support their Many shop income, so how it has pumped $ 1.7 million into Fremantle, as the reporter claims, I’d like to know.
Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt is also quoted in the article and rightly says that cities develop in layers. Archeologists will no doubt also agree with our Mayor, but while the layers of innovation, development and progress are good, the physical layer of boring and mediocre new buildings in our city will have a long-lasting negative affect on the character of Fremantle. At present it looks more as if we are trying to put layers of manure on top of fields of beautiful roses. That is not acceptable!
The Sunday Times reports today that WA Premier Colin Barnett, who is also the new Minister for Tourism, has indicated the promotions for WA should be focussing on Perth and not on the natural beauty of our state.
The Premier told the ST that Brand Perth should be our selling point focus, not beaches and the rugged Kimberley. The Premier believes that is what Asian tourists want.
Strange then that the national tourist body only recently said that Chinese tourists want a country/outback experience, and 95 per cent of visitors to the Fremantle Roundhouse I talk to have expressed that they find Perth dull and much like other big cities but that they love the heritage of Fremantle, Ningaloo Reef, the outback, Margaret River, Albany and the rugged coastline.
On that note I wonder if/what the City of Fremantle is doing in regard to offering package deals for the Street Art Festival to attract interstate and overseas visitors. This is a great free three day festival that deserves package deals with tourism operators and airlines. We could for example have a night performance in the Fremantle Arts Centre only for those who arrive here on a package deal for the SAF.
Reading the number of visitors the VIVID light festival in Sydney attracts, I believe Freo could step up a little in that regard as well and not just rely on large numbers of visitors from the suburbs on the long Easter weekend.
Fremantle Federal MP Melissa Parke got married to arts patron Warwick Hemsley at the Freshwater Bay Yacht Club on Saturday.
Melissa did not invite this top bloke blogger so unfortunately I did not take any photos I can show you and the article in the Sunday Times today will have to do.
Sunday Times journalist Joe Spagnolo reports the couple left by boat from Point Walter for the wedding event at FWBYC.
Melissa is a gorgeous, genuine and sincere person whom I respect so I wish her and new hubby a great and long life together!
It will be interesting to see where Mrs Hemsley will reside and if she will move away from Fremantle or if Warwick will make the move to Freo.
It is good to see that experts are calling for better design of buildings in the Perth region. I am pretty disappointed what modern architecture represents in our area, as it is mainly cheap and fast box-like concrete highrise that has little or no visual quality and does not enhance the amenity and streetscape.
W.A. Government Architect Geoff Warn, who is also on the Perth Design Advisory Panel, believes new strategies are needed to improve the architectural quality of projects, the Sunday Times reports today, and I could not agree more.
Heritage Perth CEO Richard Offen told ST that Perth has incredibly boring architecture that leaves a poor heritage legacy for future generations.
I believe that one of the reasons Fremantle Council signs off on mediocre architecture is because the City of Fremantle is so desperate to get new development going in Freo that it compromises too easily and gives in to pressure from developers. It is not helpful either that the State’s Development Assessment Panel often overrules local council decisions and allows inappropriate buildings to be erected which destroy the ambience of place in established older suburbs.
Excellent modern architecture can greatly improve the visual impact of a city, and it does not matter if that is a heritage city like Fremantle. In the right location and with restraint and consideration for the history and existing built environment a great new building will create a new focus point and attraction. Height does not necessarily have to mean that it is unsuitable for our inner city, but for Fremantle to accept extra height only the very best and outstanding architectural design and building quality would have to apply. Mediocre and boring concrete boxes have no place anywhere in the vicinity of our outstanding heritage architecture and we should take heed of what Government Architect Geoff Warn has to say about it.