Kings Square Design Competition

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CODA was one of three practices shortlisted on the international Kings Square design competition, initiated by the City of Fremantle to create a new civic centre for the town.

Our team worked passionately to develop a scheme that elegantly references the past whilst elevating Fremantle’s central heart to a place of urban connections and civic delight. Our scheme  created a magical interior, a place of shade, play and activity within a joyous and colourful Urban Room. We saw the Urban Room to be a place of civic and community pride; a space to hold events day and night, all year round, under cover and away from the fickleness of the weather.

Our scheme rejected generic formalism and delivered a nuanced and urban response to Fremantle’s proud cultural, social and built heritage that was both a celebration of the past and an evocation of a brighter future. The building was a bricolage, its many fragments operating as links to the fine grain of the City, and reinforcing the townscape of Fremantle with its thick walls and inner walls of repose.

Importantly, we sought to activate and energise the surrounding streets and Kings Square by locating the library and many important community and council services onto all three street elevations. We located the library over two levels, with outdoor reading rooms, children’s activity spaces on the ground floor, along with a prominent home for the City’s Local History section over the City Desk. We also suggested that FOUND, the Fremantle Art Centre’s retail outlet could locate a satellite store in the building, promoting the creative industries of Fremantle to a wider audience.

One of Fremantle’s greatest assets is its engaged community, and our scheme delivered a vibrant and beautiful town civic centre that spoke as much to them as it did to the requirements of local government. By adjoining a new foyer and terrace we not only connected the Town Hall to the Urban Room, but allowed the community to interact and observe the workings of the council directly. We strongly believe that the council’s elected members should be part of its community, open and accessible to the broader public, with the inner workings of the council process ‘on display’ to its constituents.

We are proud of our design work and its celebration of everything that makes Freo such a unique place in the world.