23rd September 2021
One of the finishing touches has been added to Fremantle’s Walyalup Civic Centre, with the laying of the turf on the centre’s sloping ‘urban room’.
The sloping lawn, which has been laid on the roof of the new Fremantle Library, is a key feature of the design by Fremantle’s internationally renowned Kerry Hill Architects.
It provides direct access to the council chamber, as well as offering a sheltered place for people to take in events in Walyalup Koort or just sit and relax.
Kerry Hill Architects Director Patrick Kosky said the front lawn was a very ‘Fremantle’ interpretation of the grand staircases found at the entrance of many traditional civic buildings.
“It has a kind of civic gravity that sets that fundamental council function – the council meeting – up on a stage where it’s visible to the street, and I think that’s a powerful thing,” Mr Kosky said.
“It’s to say, ‘this is an important act that’s happening in this chamber; this is an act of democracy’. It should be visible to the street and it should be inviting and participatory.
“It also creates a great room for the library because you’ve basically lifted the ground plane and allowed the library to connect visually with ground floor and the street and with light in the courtyards.
“Just by inclining that ground plane you get a performance space for the street and you get a beautiful volume in the library.
“It’s a green space that gives people the opportunity to gather and have an event, and also to just lie around and drink a coffee watch the world go by.
“It’s a powerful feeling to be above and look around. You feel comforted and safe doing that.”
Fremantle Deputy Mayor Andrew Sullivan said the laying of the turf marked one of the last important milestones in the construction of the Walyalup Civic Centre.
“It’s incredible to think that after all of those years of planning, community consultation and design work that the finishing line on the project is now in sight,” Cr Sullivan said.
"It's our civic centre, full of much-needed community spaces and a modern library, and it's been beautifully stitched back into the historic Town Hall.
“It's our community's home, complete with a front lawn and a verandah on a truly civic scale. It not only speaks to Fremantle's place as Perth's second city, but also to our creative, fun-loving, festival vibe.
“The new playground is looking fantastic and the Walyalup Civic Centre and library is on track to open before December.
“New retail businesses are also opening in the Walyalup Civic Centre and the FOMO development over the coming months, including a new supermarket. Walyalup Koort, the old Kings Square, is about to come alive and just in time for Christmas.
“When everything is finished and open I’m confident the people of Fremantle will see how great it is and that it’s been well worth the wait.”
The Walyalup Civic Centre is part of the $270 million renewal of Fremantle’s civic heart which the City of Fremantle is undertaking in partnership with Sirona Capital.
Construction of the civic centre was impacted by COVID, and more recently by the collapse of Pindan, but thanks to the robust contracts in place the project has not cost the ratepayers of Fremantle more than originally budgeted.
Along with the Walyalup Civic Centre, the City of Fremantle is also rejuvenating the public spaces around Walyalup Koort, including a new Fremantle-themed adventure playground featuring cranes, bridges, train tracks and shipping containers as well as natural elements like water and trees.
Sirona Capital’s contribution to the project includes the redevelopment of the old Myer and Queensgate sites. More than 1800 state government workers have already moved in and the FOMO food, art, amusement and retail precinct is about to burst into life.