Influencing Better Building Design in Fremantle: A Beach Street Case Study

There is often debate about the look and quality of new developments in Fremantle and the ability of the Fremantle Council and our Design Advisory Committee to influence and improve building design outcomes.

I thought the recent development application for 1 Beach Street shows an example of how this influence can work well.

On 17 September 2015, the City received an application for the development of 69 Multiple Dwellings and a ground floor commercial tenancy.

It would be fair to say that the original design (just below) was not broadly loved and it was refused at the City of Fremantle Planning Committee and then deferred at the JDAP meeting on 18 December 2015.

Original Design for 1 Beach St

Original Design for 1 Beach St

As a result the applicant met with the City’s Design Advisory Committee a number of times in late December and January resulting in a set of revised plans that included significant amendments to the façade, including:

  • Introduction of terracotta cladding;
  • Redesign of “skin” of building to ensure greater pronouncement and framing of openings;
  • Removal of heavy horizontal elements;
  • Contrasting materials for upper, setback floors and ground floor plane;
  • Removal of decorative timber features;
  • Introduction of timber framing on windows;
  • Alteration to awning design (thinner, consistent with adjoining Hotel);

It also saw an increase in size of commercial tenancy and an increase of setback between towers.

New design for 1 Beach St

New design for 1 Beach St

My view is the new design is a significant improvement on the former design. I think it reflects the form of the giant wool stores in that part of Freo in a contemporary way. I want to thank both the applicants and the City’s Design Advisory Committee  and staff for working together to get this improved outcome.

beach 3 Beach St apartments

About Mayor of Fremantle Brad Pettitt's blog
City of Fremantle Mayor

12 Responses to Influencing Better Building Design in Fremantle: A Beach Street Case Study

  1. Frank O'Neill says:

    Such a pleasing redesign from the original submission……

  2. Paula Amaral says:

    It is definitely a big improvement. Well done to all!

  3. Pete says:

    Sorry, it’s just as uninspired as version A.

    • Bryn Jones says:

      Hello Pete

      How much time and effort have you put in to come to this conclusion. Did you look at all the plans for both proposals?



      • Pete says:

        Howdy Bryn,
        No, just don’t see how this adds anything to the unique character that makes up this beautiful city and a little sad to think that this is the architectural vision for Freo.

  4. freoview says:

    This is a lot better, especially getting rid on the heavy horizontal design. It is hard for laymen to judge the cladding, colours, etc. before the building is finished but I am a lot happier with the new design.

    Roel Loopers

  5. Damien says:

    We need even quicker development approvals. Look at Hilton Hotel. Finally approved and now they are baulking at the building permit. All seems too hard when businesses try to invest. Now a 4 year wait with a hole in the ground where the alcoholics drink.

  6. Julian says:

    Why is the design committee only suggesting improvements to the aesthetics? Don’t they know about sustainability features? Especially those that improve the comfort of the people that use it. ( for example external sun shading, allowing sea breezes in, natural light deep into the building etc….

  7. Chris says:

    Hello Brad,
    There is a growing push from a few Cr’s and residents for the City of Bayswater to establish a Design Advisory Committee. I am undecided; I accept that, as freoview said in an earlier post, it’s hard for a layman (me) to look at the nice architectural drawings and be able to determine whether the end result will be great or rubbish. But I am concerned about the cost and whether a developer will engage with DAC because often it’ll be decided by DAP or SAT and not the council.
    So I’d appreciate your views on a couple of areas.
    I see Fremantle has had one since 2012/2013, and from this 2016 blog post I presume you still believe them worthwhile and worth the financial cost.
    1. At what point does the DAC get involved? The 2015 initial proposal would have exceeded the 11 metre height DAC criteria, yet it appears they only got involved after DAP deferred it.
    2. Do many developers say ‘stuff you’, not meet with the DAC and go straight to SAT or DAP?
    3. Do you believe SAT & DAP view developments less favourably if there has been no DAC involvement?

    • Chris.
      Happy to provide some background info to help with this. Put simply the DAC has been very helpful but works best if they get involved early in the building’s design. We have put the DAC into our scheme so they have to o through it for major developments. So they cannot say stuff you. Send me an email and I can send yo some more detail. Cheers, Brad

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