Installation has begun on a key architectural feature of the City of Fremantle’s new Walyalup Civic Centre in Kings Square.
The $41.3 million Walyalup Civic Centre is the City of Fremantle’s main contribution to the $270 million Kings Square Renewal project, which the City is undertaking in partnership with Sirona Capital.
The building, designed by the internationally renowned Fremantle firm Kerry Hill Architects and built by WA construction company Pindan, will feature a stunning modern library, fully accessible toilets and change facilities, a state-of-the-art information and customer service centre, a wide range of community meeting rooms and gallery and exhibition spaces integrated with the Town Hall.
It will also be one of the most energy efficient buildings of its size in Australia and showcase a wide array of sustainability features.
This week installation began on the unique metallic mesh façade that will wrap around the entire centre – giving it a light, transparent quality, providing shade and allowing for Fremantle’s famous sea breezes to naturally ventilate the building.
Kerry Hill Architects Director Patrick Kosky said the mesh façade means the look of the building will constantly evolve depending on the time of day and the angle from which it’s viewed.
“At times it will look quite monumental and quite solid in strong light conditions, and then as the light diminishes the activity of the building will reveal itself,” Mr Kosky said.
“As people are working in the building and we light the building internally you’ll start to see all of that activity from the street.
“We hope the whole thing will look almost as though it’s levitating above the square, that’s the architectural intent, and there’s an enigmatic quality to something that’s floating in space.”
Kerry Hill Director Sean McGivern said the mesh was also integral to the sustainability of the building.
“From the outset we looked at passive solar design within the building, and very early on we were taking about cross ventilation and how we could purge heat out of the building,” Mr McGivern said.
“The Mayor came to us in 2016 with this challenge to see if we could make this project operate on a carbon neutral basis and that’s driven a lot of the design decisions and the detailing of the building.
“We have this mixed mode ventilation system where for as many months of the year, and as many days of the year, you get this natural ventilation through the building which means you don’t have to have the air-con on.
“We’ve also got 240 kilowatts of solar PV cells on the roof, so couple those together and after a year – if the building operates the way the science says it should operate – this will be one of WA’s first operationally carbon neutral buildings.”
Along with the Walyalup Civic Centre, the City of Fremantle is also rejuvenating the public spaces around Kings Square, 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 Kings Square Renewal project includes the redevelopment of the old Myer and Queensgate sites to create offices for state government departments and the revolutionary FOMO food, art and retail concept.
This year more than 1700 staff from the Department of Communities and Department of Transport relocated to their new headquarters in Kings Square, providing a substantial boost to the local economy.