Build­ing’s his­toric bub­ble wrap

The West Australian - - NEWS - Kent Acott

It was once the Leed­erville home to one of WA’s most suc­cess­ful soft-drink fac­to­ries.

It is now a con­tem­po­rary res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment — but the essence of its for­mer life has not been for­got­ten.

The fa­cade of the M/24 apart­ments in Carr Street has been de­signed to look like in­ter­sect­ing soft-drink bub­bles — an ar­chi­tec­tural homage to the 60odd years when the Golden West Aer­ated Water Com­pany op­er­ated from the site.

The de­vel­op­ment, which of­fi­cially opens to­day, is the lat­est in­ner-city project by boutique apart­ment de­vel­oper Match.

It re­cently com­pleted the re­de­vel­op­ment of the Wool­stores build­ing in Fre­man­tle.

In col­lab­o­ra­tion with Mel­bourne ar­chi­tects ARM, who de­signed Perth Arena, they used dig­i­tal mod­el­ling to cre­ate the bub­ble pat­tern — known as Voronoi tes­sel­la­tions — on the fa­cade.

Match Group man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Lloyd Clark said the unique con­cept and his­tor­i­cal per­spec­tive had at­tracted a great deal of in­ter­est and at­ten­tion from the com­mu­nity.

Seventy per cent of the 39 one and two-bed­room apart­ments — which range in price from $420,000 to $650,000 — have sold.

Mr Clark said the in­ter­est in­di­cated a thirst for edgy prod­uct that en­hanced the land­scape and told a story.

“M/24 demon­strates that in­vest­ing in a good ar­chi­tect can pay div­i­dends in a mar­ket that re­sponds to unique prod­uct,” he said.

“The suc­cess of this project is more pro­nounced in an en­vi­ron­ment that is too of­ten brim­ming with high-den­sity, cookie-cut­ter de­signs that do very lit­tle for the streetscape or po­ten­tial cap­i­tal growth.”

The Golden West Aer­ated Water Com­pany was es­tab­lished by James Wal­lis in 1902. It moved to the Leed­erville site in 1907. It made soft drinks and cor­dials us­ing rain­wa­ter col­lected from on-site tanks.

Mr Wal­lis’ grand­son Hal, now 85, said the fam­ily ap­pre­ci­ated that the mem­ory of the fac­tory was be­ing in­cor­po­rated in the de­vel­op­ment.

“The fac­tory was very im­por­tant for the fam­ily,” he said.

“I used to work here on school holidays, putting la­bels on the bot­tles.

“I re­mem­ber the fac­tory’s ginger beer was con­sid­ered the best in the State.”

Hal’s brother Ron was fac­tory pro­duc­tion man­ager and his son Peter also worked on the shop floor dur­ing school holidays.

“There are lots of mem­o­ries in this build­ing,” he said. “We are very ap­pre­cia­tive of the de­vel­op­ers for help­ing to keep th­ese mem­o­ries alive.”

Pic­ture: Danella Be­vis

James Wal­lis' grand­son Hal Wal­lis and great-grand­son Peter Wal­lis.

An ad for Golden West.

An early pic­ture of the premises.

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