A construction start date has been confirmed for Fremantle’s $270-million cultural and civic precinct. The Kings Square project – which includes a new, $50-million administration and library building in central Fremantle – has been described by the local council as one of the “biggest developments in Fremantle’s history”.
Work on the site of the proposed library building is set to commence this month. The design by Kerry Hill Architects will be situated to the rear of the heritage 1887 Fremantle Town Hall, replacing the current city council facilities. According to a heritage report prepared by Griffith Architects for council, the “design reintegrates the Town Hall back into the centre of civic life”.
Kerry Hill Architects’ designs for the library reveal a glass-walled triangular building that is partially covered by an inclined lawn. The lawn is to act as both public space and entrance, while the extensive glass panels will allow sightlines into the building from both the lawn and from street level.
Council facilities will be incorporated into the new building, contained within a “Civic Drum” structure; a sandstone cylinder that will additionally house a series of function spaces and staff lounges.
Kerry Hill Architects beat out two other entrants in the Kings Square Architectural competition in 2013, selected from a shortlist of 53 applicants from around Australia and the world. According to the jury, the winning design was selected for its “refined architectural palette of form, space and materials”.
“As a jury we ended up selecting the concept submitted by Kerry Hill Architects [as it] offered a proposition of simple, clear elegance that centred on a compelling urban gesture to re-establish Kings Square,” said competition jury chair, Shelley Penn.
The council-funded administration and library building forms part of the wider redevelopment of Kings Square. Led by developers at Sirona Capital, the rest of the $220-million project will see the redevelopment of Fremantle’s former Myer building, and the demolition of the Queensgate building that sits to the east of the precinct.
Construction on the library and administration building is set to be completed by 2019, while work on the Myer and Queensgate buildings will begin later this year.