Fremantle Council selects Pindan as preferred Kings Square builder

Fremantle Council has selected Pindan Constructions Pty Ltd as the preferred contractor to build the City of Fremantle’s new civic, administration and library building in Kings Square, Fremantle.

The new building, designed by the world-renowned Kerry Hill Architects, is a key component of the broader $270m Kings Square Renewal project – a joint initiative  between the City and Sirona Capital.

I’m delighted we’ve taken the next step forward in this very important project for Fremantle. We will now be in discussion with Pindan to agree on terms and look forward to progressing these negotiations.

Over the next month we will go through the process of ensuring maximum value for the Fremantle community before finalising the contract and the construction timeline.

Pindan was one of six shortlisted companies selected to tender for the once-in-a-generation construction project, a key component of the broader Kings Square Renewal project, which began in 2017.

The renewal of Kings Square will transform the Fremantle city centre and this new building will be the centrepiece of that from a civic and community point of view – I expect the new building will become the heritage of the future.

A further announcement will be made once a final contract is awarded.


Kings Square Car Park reopens Wednesday 31st of October

Following a multi-million dollar upgrade over the past seven months, the privately-owned Kings Square car park (formerly known as Queensgate) will partially re-open on Wednesday 31 October.

There will initially be around 470 bays available, with more bays coming on line as work is completed.

Good to have it open in time for the busy Christmas trading period.

The broader Kings Square Renewal project is progressing well and having the car park back in operation is another major milestone.

We’re pleased Sirona and their builder Probuild have honoured a commitment made earlier this year to have the car park back up and running by November.

The lead up to Christmas is a critical time for local traders in Fremantle who have told us having these bays available is very important. This will give them a boost, especially those businesses in and around Kings Square.”

The upgrades include structural works, protective epoxy coatings to decks, new paint and line markings, new lighting and services throughout.

The new lift and stairwell is expected to be completed in a few more months with the original lift and stairwell available until then.

Parking costs have been set at $3 per hour with a $9.00 early bird all day parking rate available.

As an opening special, car park owner Sirona Capital have announced there will be free parking between 6am to 7pm up to an including Sunday 4 November.


For any queries relating to the car park people should visit the Secure Parking website  or call 1300 727 483




Copenhagen’s Three Key Design Cues the World Should Follow

With the regular debate across Perth- not just Freo – as to why we struggle to get good design I thought this inspiring article by Tom Oliver Payne in Architectural Digest about why Copenhagen is repeatedly named one of the most sustainable, liveable, and best designed cities on the planet was well worth sharing

Copenhagen is repeatedly named as one of the most sustainable, livable, and happiest cities on the planet. Synonymous with beautiful architecture and a paragon of people-oriented urban design, professionals shaping Copenhagen are in high demand across the globe. From elegant harborside architecture to prioritizing bicycles over cars, Copenhagen offers pragmatic—yet chic—solutions to 21st century urban challenges. Here are three Copenhagen-related principles to inspire architects and urban designers around the world.


In the 1960s, dense traffic, parking lots, and dominating tower blocks began to replace Copenhagen’s traditional residential blocks and narrow streets. Its architects and urban designers found themselves at a crossroads: Would they continue to raze neighborhoods and pour concrete in the name of urban progression, or would they maintain the city’s traditional citizen-focused design?

The city’s urban designers halted their 1960s push toward dense, concrete towers in favor of maintaining a more human scale.

It’s clear to see which route they took. The city retains natural light, historic architecture, a strong bicycle culture, and a widespread pedestrian network—elements of the urban form that so many cities are now desperately trying to recover. Renowned urban designer Mikael Colville-Andersen explains that Copenhagen represents a “life-sized city” which doesn’t “overwhelm citizens with arrogant engineering or architecture.”

Much of the city is oriented toward the waterfront, encouraging recreation.

The city’s U-turn from a more aggressive approach to urbanism was not a mistake but rather a conscious and collective effort to ensure the city was built at a citizen level. “Copenhagen is a human experience at every turn,” where the “cross-pollination between engineers, urban planners, and designers and architects ensures a common vision and goal,” says Colville-Andersen.


When Bjarke Ingels and his firm BIG were commissioned to design Copenhagen’s new waste-to-energy plant, they were determined to dream up a way to transform the negative stereotype of a power plant into a positive. The logic was simple: Why not make use of what will be a giant incinerator by also turning it into a ski slope? After all, Denmark gets cold but has no mountains.

Set for completion in autumn of this year, Amager Bakke (or “Copenhill,” as it has become known to locals), is set to be the world’s first plant of its kind, while also doubling as a leisure destination in its own right. The thinking is simple yet brilliant.

“Rather than being faithful to a single expression, we prefer a certain promiscuity that allows us to engage in many different styles, vocabularies or ideas,” says Ingels. “We call it ‘Bigamy’—the idea that we shouldn’t accept the limitations of established categories—and always attempt to merge conditions that are perceived as opposites or mutually exclusive. You don’t always have to choose between one or the other—often you can have both.”

Just a bicycle trip from Copenhill are a number of Ingels’ projects applying this very principle: Islands Brygge brings the beach to the heart of the city; 8 House combines retail, offices, houses, and apartments into a single building with a promenade and cycle track; and the Mountain Dwellings turns a car park into a housing project—complete with beautiful garden rooftops and a climbing wall thrown in for good measure.

All of this sounds like science fiction, but it’s the world-changing potential of architecture.


Today, Danish design is marked by a robust command of symmetry mixed with a degree of playfulness.

Likened to flies, Lego blocks, spaceships, diamonds, and toasters, the buildings composing Copenhagen’s skyline evoke intrigue and surprise through a sophisticated playfulness. “The thought of isms, of iconic buildings—which, regardless of context and function, represent a specific form of expression—is foreign to me,” says Dan Stubbergaard, founder of COBE. “If there is something that characterizes our projects and that I believe are their distinction, then it be the way they merge with the whole.… For us everything depends on the individual project—if it’s a museum for rock music, we get inspiration from the world of rock music.”

While many of today’s architects of notoriety have gained recognition using a signature touch (think of Zaha Hadid’s undulating curves and Frank Gehry’s sweeping, metallic surfaces), Copenhagen is built upon an experimentation of new ideas unique to their context. “The city has become a 1:1 laboratory of our work in all scales. In its very nature, any piece of realized architecture represents a serious use of resources. We believe in exchanging these resources into increased livability for people,” says Stubbergaard.

The newer buildings that compose Copenhagen’s skyline often push the envelope of traditional design, creating an interesting juxtaposition with the city’s preserved historic façades.

A robust command of symmetry mixed with a degree of playfulness helped bring 20th century Danish architecture to an international audience (Jørn Utzon’s Sydney Opera House, for example). Such virtuoso experimentation continues to influence the design of Copenhagen today.

1960s City of Fremantle Administration Building Almost Gone

The not greatly loved 1960s built City of Fremantle administration and library building in Kings Square will be completely gone in a matter of weeks.

The building was assessed as being asbestos-free last month, following a four month asbestos removal program to prepare it for the final demolition phase.

This final phase will see the building demolished with the majority of the structure recycled.  The site will then be prepared for the construction of a modern, competition-winning new civic, administration and library building as part of the broader Kings Square Renewal project.

Demolition activities are currently focusing on the delicate separation of the building from the Fremantle Town Hall, some of it done by hand to protect the heritage-listed building.

Pleasingly it has gone well and the original limestone wall of the Fremantle Town Hall are now visible for the first time in decades and will be a feature in the new civic building.



A View of Port Transformation from Taiwan’s New Bay Area

Last week I was invited to speak about the transformation of port cities at Kaohsiung, a port city in southern Taiwan.

It was of those worthwhile conferences where I learnt at least as much as I got to share from Freo.

This was in part due to the New Bay Area in Kaohsiung undergoing a similar transformation to what we have aspired to in Fremantle for a number of years – but interestingly Kaohsiung is a few years ahead of us.

While Kaohsiung’s port is quite a bit bigger than Fremantle’s the similarities between our port areas were enlightening.

Their New Bay Area is the equivalent of Fremantle’s Victoria/South Quay. It was also largely underused waterfront land. In 2011 Kaohsiung’s Mayor launched the Asia’s New Bay Area project in an attempt to step beyond Kaohsiung’s historical image as an industrial city and restructure the old Kaohsiung Harbour into a major attractor for regional economic development in Southern Taiwan.

At the heart of this waterfront renewal project is the construction of four impressive public buildings:

The first of these constructed was the Kaohsiung Exhibition Centre to promote Kaohsiung’s as a conference and exhibition hub. This beautiful building, designed by Australia’s Cox Architects, opened last year and was where the conference was held.


Further along the bay is the Kaohsiung Cruise Port Terminal which will serve as the entry point for international tourism. It is looking to be  a stunning building. While only  part complete you can see the skeleton of the building to the right of the photo below.  This will bring cruise shipping into the heart of the city centre.


Finally, the Maritime Cultural and Popular Music Centre is also along the waterfront and you can see it under construction through the tram window in the photo below. It will aim to serve as the new landmark and activator for the New Bay area. When it is complete it looks like it will be also stunning as you can see by the lower mock-up photo.


These public buildings are all linked by the new Kaohsiung Light Rail. The Waterfront Light Rail is an 8.7 km route that has no overhead wires but is solely battery operated with fast-charging at each station. It was very impressive and I will see if I can find out the costs of this leading-edge technology.


The New Bay project has been a partnership between the local, state and national governments and is a great example of how to reconnect a city to its waterfront. There is still a working port on the other side of the river and a vibrant CBD behind – it is what Fremantle’s Victoria Quay could become with  with the right partnerships and investment.

We have already got the beautiful Maritime Museum (interestingly also designed by Cox Architects) and linking that via light rail with a refurbished Cruise Passenger Terminal,  a major Aboriginal Cultural Centre and other developments would make this a major destination for West Australians and international tourist alike.

Thanks Kaohsiung for showing how it can be done.


Beyond the False Choice for Fremantle Port

In recent years a false choice has been asked of Fremantle and its working port.

First, a few years ago Fremantle was asked to accept the Perth Freight Link – a tunnel that ran from Roe 8 to High St and would supposedly enable Fremantle Port to triple in size to over 2 million containers a year.

This was rightfully rejected. It was an expensive and incomplete plan that came out of nowhere and was a road to nowhere (or at least it was a road that was so poorly conceived that it didn’t even make it all the way to the port.)

As I said on my blog at the time: “I strongly support a working port in Fremantle – but not at any cost.”

I am glad the community won this campaign.

More recently, however, Fremantle has been told it must now give up its working port to Kwinana and accept just been a tourist and novelty port.

In the Fremantle Council’s view this would see not only Fremantle’s history and identify substantially eroded but a major loss of economic activity just at a time when Fremantle is rebuilding and diversifying its economic foundations.

Both the PFL and moving the whole of the inner Fremantle port to the outer harbour in Kwinana are bad choices to Fremantle.  They are also bad choices for the state and would require a huge infrastructure investment in the billions of dollars. The PFL was costed at around $2 billion. An outer harbour is likely to cost between $4 and $6 billion.

But there is a more sensible third way, a middle way between an oversized port and none at all.

This was outlined in a recent Fremantle Herald Thinking Allowed which in summary argues:

  • Container handling should be maintained at North Quay, provided the associated land-side transport arrangements have no greater impact on the local community than current port operations.
  • Victoria Quay should also be progressively developed for community, tourism and commercial uses – in particular with improved facilities for cruise ship passengers.
  • To facilitate this, car imports and other freight shipments coming through Victoria Quay should be transferred to another location such as the Outer Harbour as soon as possible.

This approach is not new. It is actually the approach that has been at the heart of Fremantle Port’s and the State Government plans for most for the last decade as can be seen from this graph from several years ago by Fremantle Ports.

This third way is also a cheaper option.

It will require an investment in a replacement for the old Fremantle Traffic Bridge so that it also includes a dedicated freight rail line. But the old bridge needs to be replaced anyway. There is great opportunity to create a Fremantle High-line with the old bridge too as Josh Wilson recently outlined.

It will also require smarter use of our current freight network so that quieter, cleaner trucks run fully loaded and more often in off peak hours.

This is not to argue that an outer harbour will not be required. It most likely will and we should plan for this as is pleasingly happening with the Westport Taskforce.

But there is no need to rush into making a one of Perth’s biggest ever infrastructure investments. There has been slow container growth over the last 5 years and there is considerable uncertainty around the growth in imports by volume. Much of what we consume is getting smaller. There is also the potential for the relocalisation of some manufacturing.

The Fremantle Council has been consistent in its support for both a working port in Fremantle and for the necessary long term planning for an outer harbour.

We have long argued that the port infrastructure investments should be broken down into smaller, more sustainable bits and that we should start with the moving cars off Victoria Quay.

Fremantle Port needs to evolve but let’s not hurry into expensive and damaging solutions whether it be the PFL or moving Fremantle Port in its entirety to the Outer Harbour. We have the time to invest carefully and wisely and find a better third way.

Apartment Projects in Freo Recognised at 2018 UDIA WA Awards

Well done to the three apartment projects in Freo have been recognised for their impressive designs at the 2018 UDIA WA Awards.
Congratulations to The Cove by Blackburne, Liv Apartments by DHA and Evermore WGV by Yolk. All projects that are raising the residential quality bar in WA.
Here are the Freo highlights:

The Medium Density Development award was presented to Blackburne Property Group for The Cove in North Fremantle.

The Cove.

“The Cove has been embraced by the downsizer market seeking a high end apartment with minimal ongoing costs and fees,” Ms Hailes said.

“(It) offers residents large living areas and balconies along with a 400sq m green space on the roof and lower terrace which showcases the excellent architecture and design elements that set the project apart from the competition.”


The High Density Development award went to Defence Housing Australia for their Liv Apartments project in Fremantle.

Liv Apartments.

The project has transformed a disused carpark into an attractive apartment complex featuring an average 7.5 star energy rating and utilised over 10,000 recycled onsite bricks.

It is also one of less than 20 One Planet Living endorsed projects worldwide.


The Affordable Development category went to Evermore Apartments – WGV by Yolk Property Group.

“This innovative project demonstrates passion and leadership in the installation of solar and battery storage systems and innovative governance systems that allow apartment owners to sell electricity to each other,” Ms Hailes said.

“It was the first apartment development for sale in Australia to utilise such a system.”

Evermore Apartments – WGV.