Glass for a V.I.P. – Very Important Polar bear

G.James Glass supply for Polar Bear Cub Viewing Panel

Polar bears are one of the most popular bears that we endear ourselves to.  Large and cuddly, yet so fierce. It is with fascination and awe that we can look on these creatures and catch a glimpse into their lives. Here in Australia, you can only do this from a viewing platform that has a clear, wide and very secure glass barrier.

With news of the resident female polar bear, Leah’s, pregnancy, Sea World engaged the builders, Astute assist them with the construction of a new polar bear enclosure. G.James Glass & Aluminium were sought for the supply of the glass viewing panels.

A new addition to the Sea World Polar Bear family

Leah has been living with Nelson and Hudson (who are twin brothers) in a large enclosure at Sea World. The prospect of the cub came as a little surprise, as Leah was not known to be pregnant until late into her 8 month gestation period.  Cub twins were born in May 2013 to Leah and father, Nelson. Unfortunately, only one has made it to this age, but Henry is doing very well. A new enclosure was required as the mother and cub needed to be separated from the male bears. Leah needs to care for her offspring and males have been known to try and eat cubs.

Designing a New Enclosure

Work on a new enclosure was started immediately. The planning and layout for the enclosure began 10 years ago, but the final design still needed to be resolved.  It was done in cooperation with the polar bear keepers, Sea World officials and biology professionals to ensure the safety and well being of the new inhabitants.

The majority of the enclosure is concrete and timber with the glass viewing panel making up the majority of one wall – all products need to be non toxic. The layout was designed to be aesthetically reminiscent of a polar bears natural habitat and in keeping with the existing enclosure.  It includes two ice wells (ponds where ice can be left for exploration and play), a waterfall, chilled sea water pool, trees and three cooling misters. The pool has loops in the bottom of it which toys can be attached to for the polar bears to play with.

The polar bear entrance is a wide area that is partially hidden from the viewing area, and so rocks have been strategically positioned to discourage the polar bears from hiding in this corner.  This area was in its final stages of preparation when we visited, and mobile scaffolding made by QuickAlly Access Solutions was being used to support the workers completing the job.

The more serious aspects of the pen are an isolated waste catching system, security door locking mechanisms, and a safety escape niche. Polar Bears are never tamed. Keepers cannot be in an enclosure with them, as they are at risk of being attacked.   The security door prevents the polar bear door to open while keepers are in the enclosure, and in case of failure, the niche only fits a person, and has an alarm button in it to highlight help is required.

The risk factor when in close quarters with bears makes the viewing panel not only important for visitors, but it is the only area they can be easily watched by their keepers at eye level.  All photography for recording the animals behaviour and publicity purposes are taken through this panel.

The Viewing Panel

The type of glass used in the polar bear enclosure is specified. The glazing has to be thick and secure enough to ensure the safety of the polar bears, and visitors. Four layers of glass, laminated together ensure this. The glass is around 40mm thick and each of the 8 viewing panes weigh 495kg. Polar bears will scratch at the glass, and these scratches need to be polished out every couple of years. The edges of the glass, and gaps in between need to be specially designed. Polar Bears will test edges and explore gaps, so they are constructed to minimise their ability to grip and claw areas.

On completion of the enclosure, officials from the Australian Institute of Marine Science inspect the final result. Any potential hazards or dangerous surfaces are highlighted and addressed prior to the polar bears being introduced to their new surrounds.

The Cubs Entrance to Public Life

Leah has been monitored daily since the birth of her cubs. She was living in her “maternity ward” and exercising in a special enclosure for the polar bears until September. Her new home was opened to her in mid September, and it was expected she would explore it for a week or two before she and the cub were comfortable with their new surroundings.  It has since been opened to the public.

G.James Glass supply for Polar Bear Cub Viewing Panel

In Comparison to a Wild Life

In the wild, a mother will lie in a dormant state (similar to hibernation) in a den made inland of snow and ice for about the second half of the gestation period. After birth, the cubs are reared in the den for the first couple of months of their lives before being introduced to the world. The cubs have about 2 weeks to gain their strength and learn to walk over distance and run before journeying to the sea. They spend between 1 ½ and 2 ½ years with their mother before going out on their own.

Click on the images for more Polar Bear facts.

Gasworks – A Modern Development with a Heritage Heart

Gasworks building developmentOngoing development of a historical site located at Newstead (Brisbane), sees it transforming in stages to a new mixed use precinct. The name derives from the sites original use – the gasworks, and part of the project is to protect the heritage listed gasometer located prominently amid the gasworks buildings.

Originally built in 1863, the gasometer once stored gas in a large bladder contained within its frame work.  The Gasometer has been fully restored ensuring the ornate pinnacles and lace work beams stand as equal alongside its newly constructed neighbours.  It creates a unique contrast set amidst the strong lines and bold shapes of the modern architectural features of the Gasworks building development.

Designed by the same team that worked on the adjacent Energex building – Architect Cox Rayner and builders FKP, the buildings in this phase of construction comprise of Building A on Skyring Terrace (five storeys) and Building E on Longland St (three storeys).

G.James Role

G.James Glass and Aluminium supplied and installed glazing facades, doors, windows and some extruded sun hoods. Building A has a proposed 5 star green star rating – so energy efficiency, acoustics and air infiltration were important design factors. As such, products with proven test results were selected for use.

Building A

Building A comprises ground floor shop front retail with four upper levels of offices. The offices utilise the flush glazed 651 series glazed with IGUs made up of green glass with a low E coating for energy efficiency, a 12mm air space, and 6mm clear glass internally. This also assisted in achieving a better acoustic rating.  Spandrel panels were made with a green ceramic painted surface – a premium spandrel glass option  that maintains the look set by the vision area.

Building E

Building E was a combination of two levels of residential apartments along Longland Street, two levels of office space along the breeze way between the buildings, and a retail shop front precinct on the ground level. The offices in building E utilize the 650 series, also flush glazed, but to accommodate 11.52mm laminated glass. The glass has a low E coating and the same colour, but didn’t require the same level of acoustic rating or energy efficiency. The office glazing also incorporated architectural features such as glass fins for extra strength and sun hoods for protection.

The residential apartments use a range of glazing styles. Fixed framing used the 650 series system with 265  series awning windows spaced across the facade. Balconies feature four side supported 550 series balustrades with access through 445 series sliding doors.

Shopfront Design Problem

The retail areas required a centrally glazed pocket, but the opening size and wind loads exceeded the constraints of the current system.  As many architects are looking for options to make windows larger, the decision was made to replace the current aluminium vertical members, the mullions, with a stiffer option. The new design also incorporated the ability to strengthen it further. This new addition to the G.James range is used extensively throughout the Gasworks project.

Practically Completed

Practical completion was achieved on the 3rd August, 2013, however there are still minor works, interior fit outs and landscape work under way.  Building E has been designed so a residential tower can be constructed above it in the future.

The Gasworks project is an aesthetic feast, and well worth a look if you are in the area. Please consult the interactive map project to get the location and a summary of the project information.

Generic and Custom Plastic Extrusions, Gaskets and Seals

PVC extruded plastic gasketThe G.James Glass and Aluminium Plastics department has been operating since 1995, and started out manufacturing just 2 products for in house use. Type and quantity of manufacturing has been growing steadily ever since. Commercial sale of products initiated 5 years ago, and now supports several industries.

G.James Extrusions

The industries that G.James manufactures PVC plastic extrusion for include – building and construction, automotive, commercial refrigeration, marine, shop front, internal fit outs and railways to name a few. They come in a range of colours and PVC types, from rigid, semi rigid and flexible, including nitrile or rubber modified and TPV (Thermo Plastic Vulcanite) or Santoprene equivalent (this has the same properties, characteristics and function, but without the Santoprene brand name) as well as Santoprene, if its specifically required. Co extrusions (extrusions made from two different materials) and bushfire (BAL) rated extruded gaskets are also available.

The G.James facilities are capable of large scale commercial production. The production lines can produce up to approximately 2000m of plastic extrusion an hour – depending on the size and shape of the profile. Products are designed up to 100mm in Circumscribing Circle Diameter (CCD). At peak times, it will use up to 40 ton of material a month – and that’s not at full capacity.

Extrusion design

After initial contact, the design process involves an in depth look at what is required – the use, appropriate material for the conditions – sun and weathering, heat and chemical exposure. Identifying potential issues and mitigating them, or troubleshooting issues that may have occurred previously. Assessing die design and making a more effective proposal are all looked at prior to signing off drawings for a die to be made. Die trials are run and the resulting profile measured up for quality assurance purposes before commercial runs begin.

This process can take up to a couple of months if there is a lot of design involved, but is usually less. Ordering plastic extrusion has a two week lead time, but standard runs or more urgent requests can be processed to cater to customer needs.


During the design process

Efforts are made to ensure the die design is as beneficial and cost effective to the customer as possible. For example, a recent job started out with a profile design from a customer that required considerably expensive tooling and production costs.  Working with the customer and making a few die modifications, these costs were brought down by 60% . No impact was had on the effectiveness of the extrusion.

As an initial saving, G.James can arrange to have the tooling price amortised into the production price per metre to offset the lump sum.

Use in situ

18 years of experience by the PVC extrusion manager, Jason Clarke, ensures personal service from someone who knows how to make it work. Trouble shooting feeding problems, stopping gaskets from “popping” out of position, gasket “wave” problems and better shape design are among other issues that are addressed.

Point of manufacture

A length from every roll of extruded plastic is tested to ensure a quality product. Measurements are taken and information is recorded and stored so it can be tracked back to when and how it was made. Materials that work into other G.James products are also trialled for a suitable fit on completion to ensure a whole of system customer service.

Back end quality control

G.James conduct investigations into existing scenarios that are having problems. Extrusion and glass checks, incorrect use and out dated design issues can be looked at to assess the cause of any issues. Advice is given on the findings, whether it is a change in plastics die design, or other members that are found to be out of tolerance.

Manufacturing Process

It’s a short but interesting manufacturing process. The material comes in pellet form that is control fed through a hopper into a spiralling screw or ram. The pellets are heated, mixed and compressed as they are fed through the spiralling screw, and finally forced through the die into its final shape. After the gasket is extruded, it is immediately cooled in chilled water, and then dried before being cut into designated lengths and boxed, or rolled onto a spool.

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All off cuts of plastic extrusion are recycled on site. They are shredded and prepared to go through the same hopper feed and production process. As a quality control issue, recycled material is only used on non-structural gaskets, such as fly screen splines.

Brisbane designed and made, supply is distributed Australia wide, with much of our standard range available off the shelf at any G.James branch. For more information on product and supply, call the PVC manager, Jason Clarke, on 0403 352 703 or 07 3815 4908. Keep up to date by looking up the PVC page on the G.James website.

Capitol Apartments

The Capitol ApartmentsCapitol Apartments has been recently constructed at 35 Peel St, South Bank, Brisbane, QLD. It is a 10 storey building designed by Kowalski and built by TMF. This project is situated in the busy west side of South Bank, along some major traffic routes – one being Queensland Rail train tracks and rail bridge.  It is an ambitious project considering its location, and had very stringent guidelines to achieve before it was allowed to be constructed.

Strict Design Criteria

The main aspect of design took into account the proximity to the adjacent train line. Acoustics is an obvious problem, but the location of the railway tracks are within a stones throw, literally. As such, protection of the railway tracks from litter being thrown onto the lines is of critical importance. Accompanying this, the architects designed a building with many differing glazing requirements to achieve a cohesive up market residential property. This building is to be used as furnished apartments for long or short term accommodation for people in the South Bank area. With venues like Rydges and other large hotel names in the vicinity, a boutique, stylish result needed to be achieved. The Capitol Apartments The initial design phase required the windows to comply with acoustic standards, or the apartment would not get approval to be built. G.James were the only glaziers that could beat all the ratings required, and provide evidence via testing that these results were guaranteed. The design initially specified opening sizes to be built to, but to ensure quality, it was actually done as a measure and fit job. As such, the lead times were brought down dramatically in the manufacture and installation scheduling required to meet the builders time line, which G.James achieved.

Design Resolution

To accommodate the requirements to protect the tracks from litter, all windows to the railways (northern) elevation were fitted with fixed Crimsafe screens. The balconies are set up as an Alfresco area, and the Lismore designed version of the 445 sliding door system was used for the operable windows overlooking the tracks and the city, with a fixed light beneath. The Lismore design, allows the sliding door to be operated from the inside, allowing the Crimsafe screen to be fitted and fixed externally. This alfresco area also helps protect the interior from noise pollution. The Capitol Apartments Bedrooms were fitted with jockey sashes to provide an adequate acoustic barrier, and living spaces had IGUs (as well as the alfresco area) to protect it from railway traffic noise. Both use the 451 system. Some balconies also have 136 Double Hung IGUs incorporated into their design. Other areas use differing glazing suites including the 165 slider vents to wet areas, 265 awning windows, 651 shop front with IGUs in the gym on level 1 with a 476 hinged door.  The main entry was a 475 auto sliding door, and the 477-300 bi-fold system with a lowlight under in  650 framing are a suitable finish in the restaurant. All framing not done on the railway elevation used various types of SGUs to suit the look required. The Capitol Apartments We have released a project map to provide the location and a summary of works.  Keep an eye out for the Capitol Apartments on this map…

Interactive Map: Building Brisbane

Brisbane construction projects by G.James Glass & Aluminium

Brisbane, being the location of our Head Office, sees many fine examples of G.James workmanship.   Here, we outline some of the biggest and best projects undertaken to showcase our capabilities in recent times.

The interactive map is designed so you can take a tour of some of our most recent and notable works.  Either at your desk looking out a CBD window, taking a stroll around town, and driving past a building or through an area you have always wanted to know more about.


G.James has contributed widely to what Brisbane looks like today.   There are buildings that have added to Brisbane’s sky line and to the diversity of looks and uses that are designed for the various parts of this fair city.  On some buildings, there are unique features that make them distinctive.  For example –

  • the ribbons of M&A,
  • the splash of red across the Australian Federal Police building,
  • the glass wall of Sir Samuel Griffith Centre,
  • the towering Aurora and Riparian plaza.

There are many buildings that have achieved the coveted green star energy efficient design,  some interesting artwork on glass designed by local artists – its worth a visit to the Anthropology Museum at UQ to see the ceramic printed window alone. Some of the buildings have specialised glass systems to suit the works being done, like the Translational Research Institute and the ABC headquarters.

There are projects that have altered the face of a tired old façade, so if you look at an old image of QIMR, you won’t recognize it.  And then theres the Suncorp Stadium which gives you a glimpse inside a place where state pride and competition is on the line.

The Interactive Map

The map is aimed to give you a glimpse into the depth the G.James knowledge base and provide an overview of the types of works that G.James is capable of.  It highlights projects done by various departments in the company, including:

  • Commercial departments
  • Residential departments
  • Gossi park and street furniture
  • Glass department

You can have a look at the map and plan out a scenic drive, or target specific jobs, or just get an idea of what we have produced, in your area.  As you can imagine, there are too many jobs to make this an all-inclusive list, but we aimed to include a range of jobs reflecting different styles and features.

A brief dossier on the project is included – a photo of what to look for, basic job data and links to further information on the project.  G.James can help you with any further information required for the jobs represented.

Explore Here…

Enjoy the exploration, and keep an eye on this space. Other areas will be released as our database of projects rolls out – Sydney, Melbourne, the Gold Coast, as well as other areas to be where you can find G.James fingerprints…

Until then, enjoy this insight into the River City.


 G.James Projects

 Gossi Designs

51 Alfred St – Efficiency in commercial design

51 Alfred St A green star accredited office block constructed in one of Brisbane’s growing commercial areas, 51 Alfred St comprises of a ground floor retail space with 8 levels of office space above.

51 Alfred St, Fortitude valley was constructed by Blackwatch Projects, to the design of Willis Greenhalgh Architects. The sustainable design intended to minimise its carbon footprint was a urban friendly solution to council and the community. It includes a smart foyer, featuring floor to ceiling full height glazing on two street frontages, and superb views to the city above level 2.

G.James Role

Development of the project went from initial “design in principle” early drawings to installation of the finalised glazing products. The project had a short time frame, and lead times for manufacture and installation had to be carefully managed.

The building incorporates shopfront glazing from ground floor to level 1 that used the 850-500 and 650-500 series framing systems. Hinged doors are 475 or 476 series, with 445 series sliding doors (as on some upper levels, also). G.James picked up the cladding package for the ground floor columns, which was made and fitted by the G.James Joinery department. QuickAlly, G.James scaffolding division assisted with providing access to entry the shop front entry glazing.

Upper levels utilizes the 651-500 curtain wall suite. The design had to allow for the addition of randomly placed aluminium horizontal and vertical fins that use different shapes in keeping with the difference in direction. There are also composite cladding positioned irregularly across the southern face, and frames the edge of the eastern face.

All of the differences in cladding and sun shading incorporated into the curtain wall, made for a wide variety of specialist panels.  This required coordinating the transportation and installation of the panels to be highly organised. Careful design, preparation and on site works were given particular attention at the corner feature to achieve the seamless angled cladding and glazed finish that spans the full height of the buildings office area.

Glazing selection

IGU’s were used in the vision areas of the tower to combat city noise and provide sufficient thermal and solar efficiency to achieve the green star accreditation.

The spandrel area uses a colourlite backing on clear glass to achieve the opaque finish. Charcoal and White were used to keep in theme with the buildings monochromatic scheme that highlights the slash of copper that makes the corner feature stand out.


There was no tower crane available for this job, so all of the framing hoisted into the floors from a crane on the street below.  Including the “Spider Hulk”, the name of the lifting crane that positions the panels into place.

51 Alfred St

“Spider Hulk” is the name of the machine that lifts the panels into position on the building.

Early design intended the framing to be fixed into cast ins – a quick and minimal fixing method that utilizes the concrete structure to enclose and support the framing. Later changes, however, meant that the frame fixings were redesigned and engineered to be fitted with bolts into the concrete.

The ground floor was site glazed as the size of the glazing was so large. There was also a curtain wall panel that needed to be site glazed. This requires extra safety measures and some specialised techniques to carry out.

Blackwatch had a tight program which was run like clockwork. It enabled overall job satisfaction with the resulting installation of the work performed by G.James, and we look forward to working on further projects together.

Project Update: Queensland Institute of Medical Research

QIMR Herston Rd Entrance

Transforming an existing medical research facility in Herston, QLD to align with the surrounding complex.

Queensland Institute of Medical Research Phase 3, or QIMR ph. 3, is the refurbishment of the Bancroft Centre. It is located just outside Brisbane’s CBD next to the Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital.

The Bancroft Centre, owned by QIMR  is contracted to be built by Watpac. The project is designed by a joint architectural venture between Wilson and Wardle architects.

G.James’ Role

This project initiated as a design and documentation contract, in which G.James were required to advise and recommend the design of glazing works, survey the existing building and detail the information via formal drawings. Due to the positive contributions and coordination of this aspect of the project, G.James were awarded stage 2 – the supply and install of the glazing works.

The Bancroft Centre

The Bancroft Centre is a 14 storey concrete building with feature beams and columns criss crossing the building dividing up the individual windows and balconies spread across the elevations. At ground level, a large lobby window and sub station louvre is also part of the upgrade.

The medical research undertaken at the centre is highly sensitive. In the pursuit of the solutions being investigated, the building will be partially occupied by the client throughout the construction process. This will affect parts or entire floors at different stages. Close coordination of on site works, monitoring clients requirements and ensuring safety for all, dictates progress.

External Refurbish

The basic concrete structure remains, with the southern concrete face being removed and extended out towards Herston Road. The extensions are supported by a grid work of steel with concrete platforms. The face lift is to extend down the western side to the existing balconies and on the eastern side to the recently erected QIMR central building.

The architectural intent is to create a look that reflects the existing Clive Berghofer Cancer Research Centre (CBCRC) located on the other side of the QIMR central building. To do this:

  • The main façade on the curtain wall is being replicated as much as possible.
  • The visible rendered sheer walls are being covered with Alpolic cladding to wrap around to the front of the balconies and underside of the soffits in a similar fashion to the CBCRC building.
  • Glazing in the balconies and lobby were replaced to reflect the more natural colour scheme and full height layout of the CBCRC.
  • Louvres are being modernised and/or introduced to cope with the needs of the buildings updated research capacity, the design of which is in keeping with the other QIMR buildings.

G.James has followed stringent processing and approval of the glazing samples and design to ensure these principles are followed adequately.

Design: Energy and Acoustic Efficiency

Renovations on old buildings require them to be upgraded to meet the latest energy efficient guidelines. To accomplish this, the Bancroft refurbishment required higher performing windows than the original.  Another important design element to consider was that the Bancroft Centre is situated at what is now one of Brisbane’s busiest intersections.

Fronting onto Herston Road, a stones throw from Bowen Bridge Road, bus ways and the Inner City Bypass, shows the heightened necessity for acoustic protection.

The main curtain wall façade utilises the 651 series with highly efficient IGU’s made from Solarplus engineered glass with an acoustic laminate internally to assist with noise deadening. The visible features of the curtain wall replicate that of its neighbour providing a plaid pattern of greens and silver that provide the desired sister building effect.

The balconies use 450 framing with 475 door systems for the balconies’ hinged and sliding doors. A custom solution was introduced with laminated glass incorporating a thick 1.14mm acoustic laminate and energy tech inner lite working together for maximum efficiency and sound protection.

An environmental advantage to being involved in the design of the cladding, minimised the wastage by designing the cladding widths to suit what was commercially available. Approximately 85% of the panels could be made to their natural width.

Unusual Design Elements

The lobby or main entry spans a height of two stories. It has concrete features penetrating through the facade. This required some innovative design to incorporate these obstacles while maintaining the ability to replace the existing framing in a short turn around of a week. 650 framing was used in the lobby to achieve this.

The curtain wall is usually lifted into place by a mini crane positioned on the building.  It is dedicated to the curtain wall install.  On QIMR however, a tower crane had been fitted on site to accommodate phase 2 construction, and is also being used for phase 3.  This meant that fixing the curtain wall had to be timed in between other site deliveries and other uses required of the crane.

This has been a unique project with G.James contributing very early in the design process to assist in setting our the buildings requirements for our own and adjacent works. The achievements so far have culminated with smooth progression though out the project with the mutual assistance and close coordination between Watpac and G.James.

Looking ahead

G.James role at the Bancroft Centre is to be finalised approximately mid 2013, and the entire project to be competed by mid 2014. Tours of the QIMR facilities are available to the public. You can book a tour on the QIMR website.

Project Update: KSD – Hamilton Harbour

Hamilton Harbour - KSD building

We first mentioned Hamilton Harbour – a joint venture between developers Devine Limited and Leighton Properties, designed by Cox Rayner Architects on our blog several months ago. Back then, we were putting finishing touches on the third residential building of the mixed use development. Now, a little bit further down the line, we have nearly completed the façade on KSD – a 5 floor commercial building on the site.

ConstructionPartially installed Façade

The KSD building makes use of a range of G.James façade products. Our 546 series curtain wall system with IG units was used to create the façade. LE40 coated ‘Evergreen’ glass was selected to meet required performance criteria. Our 775 series sunshades and sunblades have also been used to improve the performance of the façade, whilst enhancing the aesthetic value of the building.

From project acceptance to install was a very quick turn around, our nearby Fison Avenue factory was a integral part of achieving the programmed dates. Installation on site also happened over a short timeframe – commencing on the 10th of October, with the main curtain wall completed by 15th November.

Looking Forward

G.James have enjoyed a close working relationship with Devine Constructions, which has ensured tight project deadlines are met on-time. We hope to continue our collaberation in the future.

Cairns Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre

Visitor Centre, Cairns Botanic Gardens

The new visitor centre at Cairns Botanical Gardens is quite literally a reflection of the tropical beauty of far north Queensland.

A ten minute drive from the centre of Cairns, the Botanic Gardens are a great place to unwind, and the new visitor information centre is the place to start.

Visitor Information Centre

The new visitor information centre is a $4.6 million dollar project to revamp the facility and provide an iconic new gateway into the gardens.

Designed by Charles Wright Architects and constructed by Hansen Yuncken, the building is a mixed use building, divided into two “wings” separated by a breezeway. One wing houses visitor facilities such as a cafe, gift store and auditorium, while the other functions as office space for council staff and includes a meeting room and administrative facilities.

On Friday 16th November 2012 the National MBA Awards were held in Canberra. The Cairns Botanic Garden Visitor Centre was awarded the National Commercial Construction ($5 million to $10 million) National MBA 2012 Award.

Green Building

Visitor Centre, Cairns Botanic Gardens Printed WallOne of the primary goals of the building was to be “green”, in order to complement the gardens. To achieve this a number of technologies and techniques were incorporated into the design.

A big focus was placed on environmentally sustainable design (or ESD). This includes a number of green features such as thermal/solar chimneys which allow convection ventilation and also provide natural light inside the building.

The building also features water collection for reuse in both the building and gardens, and a thermal mass system to passively cool the environment and reduce dependence on active cooling systems such as air conditioners.

In addition, the visitors wing includes glass stacking doors which fold up completely to allow maximum airflow and open the facility directly onto the gardens.

Mirrored Windows & Printed Glass

Visitor Centre, Cairns Botanic Gardens ShopThe most notable aspect of the project is the use of mirrors to reflect images of the lush gardens and blend the facility into its surroundings. This was achieved with a reflective film applied to the glass.

The lower level windows have artwork printed on the glass using a digital ceramic printing process. This complements the mirrored glass and brings an aesthetic quality both indoors and out.

Cairns Botanic Gardens

The Cairns Botanic Gardens area includes the Flecker Gardens, Centenary Lakes, Mt. Whitfield Conservation Park and the Tanks Art Centre. The newly constructed visitor centre offers a great way to explore the area and facilitate community activities, through the auditorium and locally sourced gift shop.

The new visitor centre was completed in late 2011 and is open to the public 7 days a week, excluding public holidays.