Soul Apartments, Surfers Paradise

Soul tower, Surfers Paradise - Balustrades, sliding doors and fixed windowsSoul Apartments were constructed at an exclusive location by the water at the heart of Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast. The tower reaches 77 storeys, including 2 levels of commercial premises at the base, one level of leisure facilities for the resident population and the tower above devoted to lifestyle apartments.

The 243m high building was designed by DBI Design PL and built by Grocon, under the direction of the Juniper Group.  The tower is situated at the end of Cavill Avenue – the popular shopping strip at Surfers Paradise. G.James Glass & Aluminium won the contract to supply the design, fabrication and installation of the glazing – including windows, doors, louvres, curtain wall, sun blades and balustrades.

The Residential Tower Facade

The residential tower consists of 288 apartments with a variety of glazing types – a curtain wall face, balconies with sliding doors and windows. The sheer curtain wall façade was produced using the 650 Series glazing system, and fitted between the concrete support columns. Sky blue laminated glass contrasts well with the white columns in the marine setting.  The majority of the project’s extrusions were powder coated (finished) in Eternity Steel – a dark finish that blended into the shadow lines.

The balcony glazing utilizes the 445 Series sliding doors, 450 Series fixed windows and 415 Series louvres. The balustrading for the tower was done with 571 Series. At the top of the building, the shape of the balustrade glass was raked from level 60 and above to support the curved aspect. The raked balustrades required special layouts and bracketry specific to the level they are installed on to make the curve regular.

The tower colour scheme contrasts vivid blue sections with predominantly white areas.  The blue areas were created using sky blue glass, the same as the sheer wall. The white areas use a Cool Grey glass. The Balustrades match the colour coding of the area they fall in, and intensify the look with a reflective coating.

Sun blades are installed on the upper portion of the tower.  The south face at the sub penthouse level has large angular alpolic blades fitted to the Juliet balconies, creating a visual feature and angled to block harsh glare.

Commercial Levels

On the lower commercial levels, 3 floors high, G.James supplied the ceramic printed toughened glass (installed by others) and balustrading. The ceramic printed toughened glass for the awnings has a creeping fern pattern.  The 571 Series balustrades for the first 3 floors were internal and external, and include the the shopping plaza. 

QuickAlly Access

QuickAlly Access Solutions (a G.James business) supplied scaffolding to replace damaged balustrade, recently.  The affected glazing occured on level 6 and level 75.  Both balustrade glazing occur on balconies with limited space to provide a cantilever, so solutions were suggested and engineered to find the best approach. Ladder beams and other Systems Scaffold products were used for a suspended platform to provide safe access to the high risk heights.

The Effect

The glazing on this project makes a stunning impression from inside and out, and could not be accomplished without a high level of design and coordination. It was a great opportunity to contribute to an iconic building.

Capturing Light in an Urban Space

natural light -elev - east This residence has recently been constructed in one of the laneways of Fortitude Valley, just outside the Brisbane CBD in Queensland. Using smart orientation and well designed glazing features, a light and airy modern house has been constructed.

This urban block with an area of about 200m², fits a house with an approximate 90m² footprint. The architect, Andrew Wiley proposed a house that is naturally lit with a spacious feel in this confined perimeter. This was done working with interior designer Benta Wiley, to maximise the effect of light play on the artworks and sculptures intended for the house. The builder, Nick Chatburn & Co, worked in conjunction with G.James Glass & Aluminium to provide the glazing for the project.


There are two façades taking advantage of open areas outside to maximise views and natural sunlight entering the 3 storey building. In particular the east elevation has a glass wall the height of the building.  This wall provides naturally light to an atrium that every room in the house opens into. Glass fins support the expanse of frameless glazing. The effect of this light well gives the house a spacious feel, enhancing the flow and communication between living spaces.

Blue glass intensifies the colouration of the sky outside – used in the atrium and sliding door/windows on the north and east faces. These large windows are made from sliding doors that enable 2100 high windows.  As a safety barrier, glass balustrade is installed to the interior. This maximises the amount of light that flows into these rooms.

Shutters sit on the outside of these windows, promote a modern feel to the houses exterior.  Internally the shutters provide an insulative shade barrier, blocking the harshest rays yet letting light filter through the gaps and cooling air that flows between them. The detailing for these doors was developed at G.James – they sit on a large structural angle that is fixed to the outside of the building to give them the floating appearance.

Natural Light Features

Natural light penetrates from one side of the house to the other with the use of glass internal doors, slit windows strategically positioned to the south and west faces, and glass roof lights. There are two of these with opaque glass on the ground level that give the office and laundry a bright lift.

The third glazed sky light is a glass canopy located at the top of the stairs, leading onto the roof. An opening at the top of a space such as the atrium draws rising hot air up and out, naturally cooling the entire house and enhancing air flow through it. The glass canopy leads to a stunning outdoor area overlooking the neighbourhood, made of self cleaning glass.  Being completely see through, it doesn’t create a visual barrier in the centre of this space, but divides the different areas up for their individual uses.

Bringing the Best of the Outdoors Inside

The entire house incorporates the enjoyment of being able to make the most of the Queensland outdoors and lifestyle – starting as you enter the house.  The front door to the property is through a wide frameless glass door.  This electronically operated pivot door opens into what seems like a courtyard complete with a well planted pond. Over the pond is another frameless sliding door operated automatically, allowing lush green plant life outside to become part of the welcoming committee. This space is in fact the inside of the atrium.

Interior Inspiration

The house is an inspiration, and a beautiful example of what can be achieved with limited space in a medium density urban area.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Products by G.James

  • Entry – toughened clear glass into 475 series surround framing with frameless pivot door
  • Atrium – Structurally glazed laminated blue glass with fins into 450 series surround framing. (External blind by builder)
  • Hinged Internal and Back Doors – Toughened glass frameless doors into 475 series framing and glass channel hydraulic hinges.
  • Auto Sliding over fish pond – Toughened glass frameless door with 475 series glass channel surround frame.
  • Dining Window – 131 series offset sliding window, 3.6m long with a 1.2m sash.
  • Sliding window / doors – 245 series commercial sliders with blue laminated glass. Sliding shutters are made from G.James extrusions by a third party, and incorporated into the 245 sliding track. The glazing sits on large angle bracketry on the external face of the building to give it the seamless appearance.
  • Down stairs sky lights – white translucent glass structurally glazed to stainless steel pressings.
  • Glass roof / canopy – Sides are Low E  heat strengthened laminate on Stainless steel stand off.  Roof top glazing is self cleaning, Low E heat strengthened  laminate with polished SS pressings.
  • Fixed glazing – white translucent glass in 450 series framing.
  • 3 Shower screens – frameless shower glazing – one of each style -bay window, single shower screen panel and square base.
  • Extrusions finished in a stone grey powder coat.

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

Project Update: Sir Samuel Griffith Centre

Installing the glass screen

The Sir Samuel Griffith Centre (SSGC) is a $40 million world class building currently under construction at Griffith University’s Nathan campus. The building was designed by Cox Architecture and construction is being overseen by Watpac. The facility will have 4000m² of usable floor area across six levels, and will house approximately 60 academic/research staff and a number of support staff. It will also provide a number of lecture theatres, seminar rooms and collaborative areas. The SSGC has been awarded a coveted 6-star green rating by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA), and will be Australia’s first off-grid, self-powering teaching and research facility. The building will cement Griffith University’s reputation as a leader in Environmental Science.

Building FeaturesThe large glazed screen

To achieve its 6 star green rating, the SSGC has a number of energy efficient features. The need for artificial lighting has been reduced by large windows, few internal walls, and glass partitions. The dominant feature of the building is the large glazed screen that makes up one side of the façade. Combined with photovoltaic cells on the roof and a state of the art battery & hydrogen energy storage system the building will be self-powered.

Photovoltaic cells will convert sunlight into electricity for use during the day, as well as providing additional storage in batteries, and also through the electrolytic production of hydrogen. The hydrogen is then stored in a stable form as metal hydrides. Battery storage will be used primarily for overnight cooling of water to run the air conditioning systems and hydrogen to supply fuels cells for electricity production on cloudy days. A digital electronic energy management system will maximise the efficiency of energy usage.

G.James’ Role

G.James were engaged to supply, install and glaze six levels of aluminium windows, doors and louvres, as well as the special glass screen. The windows and doors feature energy-efficient low E coated insulated glass units. Frames on the window and door systems have been finished with commercial bronze and matte gold anodising. Matte gold powdercoat was also used to finish some items such as glass screen brackets.

Glazed Screen

The glazed screen features large panels of special clear heat-strengthened laminated glass. The glass panels are 2171×3280 mm or 2171×3540 mm in size and range in thickness from 17.5-21.5mm. In total the glass screen utilises 166 square metres of glass. The screen is supported by a fabricated “spider” steel frame. G.James designed brackets especially for this project to fix the glass to the steel supports.

ChallengesInstalling glass to the screen.

G.James commenced work on site in November 2012 and expects to be finished in May this year. The installation of the glazed screen has required significant manpower and expertise. The installation of the glass to the screen necessitated two cranes with drivers and dogmen, four booms, two special glass suckers, four abseils, eight glaziers, ropes, slings, glass bremners. The geometry of the screen also required glass panels to be installed at angles – no easy task with the glass panels weighing in at several hundred kilograms apiece. Additionally significant labour was required offsite preparing and organising the materials ready for install.

The wet and unpleasant weather Brisbane has experienced over the last few months has presented additional complications, with wind and rain causing work stoppages. Road closures and equipment failure were also challenges G.James had to overcome during the install. The fixers and crews who worked on this project deserve praise for their great work on a difficult assignment.

Looking Ahead

The building is expected to be completed in June this year, G.James is looking forward to see this exciting building open.

Reducing Noise with the Right Windows

Acoustics should be an important consideration when building your home.Australia’s growing population has resulted in a shift towards higher density residential and commercial constructions. In order to satisfy the expectations of the occupants, the acoustic performance of the construction and its openings requires careful consideration. This post is aimed to provide a general understanding of what options are available to increase the acoustic resistance of glazing.

Understanding Acoustic Ratings

Weighted Sound Reduction Index (Rw)

Road traffic is one source of unwelcome noise.
image courtesy of ziptrivia

Rw is the current Australian and ISO Standard acoustic rating method – AS/NZS 1276.1 1999 & ISO 717 1996. Designed to estimate the acoustic performance of a material or construction for certain common sound insulation problems. It contains two sound adaption terms (Ct and Ctr) so that the Rw value can be modified to reflect the environmental conditions to which the element or construction will be subjected. The Ct or Ctr term is added to the calculated Rw value to provide an indication of the performance under the adjusted sound condition.

Ct “Pink Noise” Spectrum Adaption Term.

Ct is used to adjust Rw to compensate for noise sources such as: high-speed traffic, children playing, noise from radios TV’s, high speed railway traffic and from factories that emit medium and high frequency noise.

Ctr “Traffic Noise” Spectrum Adaption Term.

Ctr used to adjust Rw to compensate for noise sources such as: low speed urban road traffic, factories that emit low / medium frequency noise and aircraft at close range.

Methods to improve acoustic (Rw) ratings

1) Decreasing the amount and volume of direct transmission paths through the glazing.

There is little point spending lots of money on upgrading to a high performance glass product if the window frame and seals are not upgraded. Air tightness of the window construction in particular, has been experimentally proven to be the most cost effective method of improving the Rw value of a window. This because each opening in the window, frame and seals provides a direct transmission path for sound to pass through. By reducing the number and area of these paths more sound must pass through the ‘barrier’ ie. the glass improving the overall performance of the system.

It should be noted that in some products the introduction of tighter fitting seals will reduce the overall day to day servicabilty of the product. For example – a sliding window may become difficult to slide due to the requirement to increase the size of the seal. In these cases it may be better to look for an alternative solution.

Frequency spectra for 4mm, 6mm and 12mm Float
Glass showing how the coincidence dip occurs at
different frequencies for each glass thickness.

2) Increasing the thickness of the glass

Thicker glass vibrates less than thinner glass, consequently the amount of sound able to pass through the window is reduced. Unfortunately this increase in glass thickness is limited by a phenomenon known as the ‘coincidence dip’. The coincidence dip is a frequency range over which the transmission of the sound increases through a material. The location of the coincidence dip is dependent on the material’s weight and its inherent stiffness. If not for this phenomenon, thickening the width of the glass would be the solution to all window acoustic problems.

3) Moving from a monolithic to a laminated glass construction

The effect of lamination on the sound insulation of glass.
Note the coincidence dip for solid glass is virtually
non-existent for laminated glass.

Laminated glass consists of two (or sometimes more) sheets of glass bonded together with a plastic interlayer. This plastic interlayer provides a damping mechanism in the glazing (the interlayer actually absorbs vibrational energy). This damping mechanism is particularly effective over the coincidence dip in the transmission spectrum. The result is that the coincidence dip is minimized and the overall performance is increased. A somewhat recent advance in laminated glass has been the development of ‘acoustic’ interlayers. These have been specifically designed to further reduce the coincidence dip, which maximizes the performance possible at each construction thickness.

4) Changing to an Insulated Glass Unit (IGU) Construction

Insulated Glass Units (IGU) consists of two glass sheets separated by a spacer to form an air gap between the sheets. This allows each glass sheet in the unit to act as a separate barrier to the transmission of sound. Unfortunately the spacer separating the sheets effectively forms a small short-circuit in the system. The spacer itself provides a direct path for the sound vibrations to be transmitted from the external glass sheet to the internal sheet of the IGU. This short circuit could obviously be eliminated by removing the spacer. This is not however a viable option – it would directly result in condensation in the IGU as well as allowing dust and particulates to deposit onto the internal faces of the two glass sheets.

Very large air gaps are more effective at reducing sound transfer than smaller air gaps. In practice, increasing the air gap from 6mm to 12mm provides little benefit. Substantially increasing the air gap to over 90mm however provides a large increase sound reduction. This anomaly is due to air trapped inside the unit acting as sound transfer mechanism between the glass faces of the IGU. As the air gap approaches 90mm this effect decreases in its severity.


There are numerous approaches that can be used to improve the sound resistance of a glazing and more often than not the most appropriate solution is a combination of one or more of the methods listed above. G.James has conducted extensive acoustic testing on our windows and doors. For further information on the choosing the right product for your project, please contact us.

Taree Courthouse – Glass Airlock

The completed sound reducing airlock structure.

G.James Taree has recently completed a small but complicated project – creating a sound reducing airlock around the entrance to Taree Courthouse.

The Problem

The courthouse was experiencing disturbance to court sessions, due to noise from outside the courtroom. People often congregate in the waiting area of the courthouse, which is directly in front of the courtroom. Every time the timber door of the court was opened, court microphones picked up outside noise, drowning out the court session and disrupting proceedings.

The Solution

G.James were engaged to create a glass airlock around the entrance, to eliminate the direct entry of sound into the courtroom. The existing glass roof and side panels were removed from the door structure, and replaced with larger ones that protruded 700mm further, to allow adequate clearance for operation of a frameless pivot door installed at the other end of the box. In total the airlock is 2700mm high x 2000mm wide x 2100 mm deep. The roof and wall panels are 13.52mm polar white toughened laminate, whilst the front is 12mm clear toughened laminate.


A number of factors added to the complexity of this project. Firstly, custom hardware had to be designed for the roof and front of the box, as no off-the-shelf fittings were suitable for this project. Close collaboration with Shearwater Marine resulted in four custom stainless steel brackets to fit the purpose.

Installation of the glass roof panel.

Space limitations in the work area also brought added difficulties. Simply transporting the glass into the building took the co-ordination of 6 men using pump up suckers and a small trolley. A custom brace had to be built with Acrow props and timber to remove the existing roof glass, and lift the new roof glass into place. Sucker machines which would regularly be used for such work were too large to fit into the timber structure.

Court sessions did not cease whilst G.James were onsite, so usual measuring equipment such as dumpy levels were unable to be used. Measurements and calculations for fixing holes in the glass were triple checked to ensure a good fit, however measurement inaccuracies due to the compromised setup meant carpet under the structure needed to be cut away to make the glass fit.

Work on site started smoothly, all existing glass was removed without incident. However when drilling for the installation of new glass began, the hammer drill used was making too much noise. The court session was disrupted, and work had to be halted to allow the court to function uninterrupted. To avoid further disruption, the pace of work was slowed and noisy aspects of the job were re-scheduled to take place in breaks and after-hours.

Working after-hours in the courthouse posed an additional complication, due to the sensitive nature of the court building.. Alarms and smoke detectors had to be disabled, and special permission had to be obtained to get after-hours access cards, as work was being carried out unsupervised.

Completing the structure took two very long days. Day one started at 8.30am and finished at 9.00pm and the second day ran from 9.00 am to 7.00 pm.

The end result

The airlock is now in place, and working as designed. Where sound used to flood in, a significant reduction in noise has been achieved, allowing the court to function uninterrupted. G.James Taree were able to take on a complicated job like this, where many others in the area could not, as they were able to draw on the expertise and experience in our Glass Division interstate to assist in this job.

Global Change Institute & the Living Building Challenge

The Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland researches issues like food security, healthy oceans, sustainable land use, health and clean energy. The new Global Change Institute building at the St. Lucia campus aims to embrace principles of sustainability and offer a place to research and pilot new sustainable building solutions.

Living Building Challenge

The Living Building Challenge is a green building certification program that defines the most advanced measure of sustainability possible today and acts to diminish the gap between current limits and ideal solutions.  Projects that achieve this level of performance can claim to be the ‘greenest’ anywhere, and will serve as role models for others that follow.

The Global Change Institute building will go beyond the 6 Star Green Star rating which means rather than having even a small negative impact on the environment it will overall have a restorative effect through technology and building practises.

Some of these features include

  • Thermal chimneys and solar air conditioning to passively cool the building and promote airflow.
  • Solar and wind power combined with DC power facilities for optimal efficiency.
  • Operable layered facades to control light and air together.

The result is a positive contribution to the climate and ecology, with zero carbon and waste footprints.


The interior of the building is progressing. Louvres are presently being installed.The building was designed in 2011 when the Global Change Institute commissioned a feasibility study, and construction began on the site in November of that year.

The façade uses motorised louvres and sun blades extensively to control air and heat throughout the building. The sun blades and louvres move independently of each other and follow the sun throughout the day, and operate in concert with the air conditioning in the building.

The louvres are custom designed to conceal any motorised mechanism, the frame incorporates a custom extrusion created for this purpose.  As the concrete slab is pre-cast with a domed shape, loading to the floor must be restricted, and the 2000 clear laminated louvre blades will need to be manually installed on-site to meet tolerances.

Further energy efficient features include a large central foyer which allows natural light through the building, a lift with regenerative braking in a glazed lift shaft, and skylights to bring natural light to the upper levels.

Construction is expected to finish in early 2013. Once completed, it will provide a focal point for the university’s sustainability research. G.James is pleased to help deliver such a cutting edge building.

5 key points for choosing windows & doors

Choosing Windows and Doors

On average, glass comprises around 25% of a home’s external surface. Along with providing light, ventilation and protection from the elements, this makes choosing the right windows and doors one of the most important decisions when building a home.

These five key points highlight some important aspects to consider when selecting the supplier of windows and doors in your new home.

Australian Window Association

Compliance & Certification

Is your window supplier an Australian Window Association (AWA) member?

The AWA Product Accreditation Program ensures that accredited members manufacture their windows and doors to exacting performance criteria.

AWA members are also required to produce windows and doors which meet the requirements of all relevant Australian Standards are subject to third party annual audits to ensure continuing compliance.

More information on the benefits of dealing with an AWA member can be found on the AWA website.

Colour Selection

Aluminium Colour Range

Choice of frame colour can be an effective tool in either complementing or contrasting your interior and/or exterior colour schemes.

Aluminium windows can be ordered in either powder coated (painted) or anodised finishes offering you a wide selection of colours. An example of typical colours available in anodized and powder coated aluminium can be found in the G.James Colour selector.

Your chosen finish must also be able to withstand exposure to the elements, so a reputable supplier will provide a guarantee against premature weathering of surface finishes.

Glass Selection

The correct glass selection can offer a number of benefits.

  • Reduced external noise.
  • Savings on heating and/or cooling costs.
  • Extending the life of soft furnishings.
  • Reducing glare.
  • Improving security.

The basic type of glass used depends on application – in areas where accidental impacts are a concern, toughened and laminated glass are much stronger and safer than regular annealed glass. Using annealed glass in areas where the extra strength is not of tangible benefit is however more economical.

Climate is another major factor in the selection of glass – in warmer climates toned or coated glass will offer performance benefits, whilst in cooler climates IGUs (double glazing) will improve heat retention.

The most suitable products for a home will vary on a number of factors, so you should speak to a professional to discuss your requirements.

Features and Benefits

Price should not be the only consideration in seletion of windows and doors – value should also be assessed in terms of the extra features and long term benefits offered by the product.

So before deciding on who will supply your windows, ask the following questions:

  • Does the window have a rigid PVC sill insert for weather performance and easy cleaning of the sill? A threshold (cover) in the door sill should also be present.
  • Are the flyscreens easily removed both internally and externally? This is an important feature, particularly for two storey homes.
  • Are window handles located in the centre? Handles located at the jamb (side) can be difficult to access behind curtains or operate when fully opened.
  • Do the window rollers contain stainless steel bearings, important for long term performance?
  • Are the window rollers of sufficient size? Smaller tyres can develop flat spots which causes the roller to skid along the track rather than roll.
  • Are the rollers height adjustable?

After Sales Service

In the event of faults with sliding windows, doors or associated hardware, you must be able to rely upon your supplier to rectify any issues.

A written warranty from a trustworthy and well established company gives you peace of mind of knowing that you won’t be left out of pocket if something does go wrong. It is necessary to read and understand your warranty agreement to know the conditions under which you are covered.

It is also important to choose a supplier who offers a stable product line with standardised features and parts across their products – you don’t want to be left with non-functional windows or doors because the supplier can no longer obtain the right parts. A supplier must also keep sufficient stock/parts on hand in order to rectify faults quickly.

Ask an Expert

Researching your window and door options will help you make an informed choice, but don’t hesitate to consult with an expert for help in selecting the ideal windows and doors.

An experienced local glazing professional will help you tailor a solution to suit both your preferences and local conditions.