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.

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…

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.

The Glass House – Barossa Valley

Glass House Barossa

Looking out over the hills of the Barossa Valley is this unique home affectionately labelled  ‘the Glass House’. Designed by leading Adelaide architect Max Pritchard the house is unusually linear in design – it is 60 metres in length but only a single room wide in the main living areas. To optimise space, a long hallway runs along one side connecting the bedrooms and the bathrooms.

Perched on the highest point of the block and with a lengthy northern elevation, this house naturally takes advantage of the warmth and light provided by the sun, particularly during the winter months, whilst allowing the owners to enjoy sweeping views of the valley below.

The skillion roof of the building makes a striking statement as it is a continuous plane along the length of the entire home. The house itself sits on a number of levels conforming to the slope of the land. These level changes are accommodated by a timber ramp in the connecting hall.

The home featured in the third season of the ‘Grand Designs Australia’ television show late last year.


G.James Glass & Aluminium – Adelaide were contracted to supply and install the approximately 180m² of windows and doors.  All the aluminium joinery was finished in Clear Anodised and glazed with 24mm insulated glass units (IGU’s) with required compliance to a Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) of 12.5. Given the chilly winters in South Australia and the large area of windows and doors, double glazing was the ideal selection as it helps to minimise heat loss – maintaining a comfortable environment within the home. The clever design of the house allows the sun’s heat to penetrate deep into the home during winter – while large eaves shade the glazing during the hot summer months.

There are a number of large fixed windows in the home.  Due to their size, two of our commercial framing systems were used for these windows – front glazed 451 Series framing and 651 Series double framing.

The southern elevation contains ten windows designed as a trapezoidal shape to fit with the gentle taper of the building. These windows have a casement attached, which is also trapezoidal. It was a challenge to create these unusually shaped windows at exactly the right angle, but this was achieved at the first attempt.

All sliding doors in the home were G.James high performance 445-100 Series, fitted with Crimsafe security screens. There are also a number of louvre windows, using 102mm & 152mm louvre blades.

Find out more

G.James have the expertise to help turn your dream home into reality. Our vast experience enables us to take on unusual or complicated jobs and our Australian manufacturing ensures that all your new home is created with highest quality windows and doors. For more information about what we can do for you, have a chat with the friendly staff at to your local G.James branch.

Project Update – Circa Nundah

Circa Nundah

Circa Nundah is a $270 million urban renewal project from developer Property Solutions. Circa Nundah is located on a 2.5 hectare site in Nundah, Brisbane. Masterplanned by Arkhefield, the site will eventually contain three 9 storey residential buildings and an eight storey commercial building. The commercial building – Circa CT1, was completed towards the end of 2012, and work is drawing to a finish on the first residential building, Circa One.

Circa One comprises 42 one-bedroom and 42 two-bedroom apartments, 490m² of ground-level retail space, a residents’ recreation room, manager’s office and two levels of secure basement parking. Apartments generally range from 63 to 101m², with large corner garden terrace units of up to 133m². Construction on Circa Nundah Village is being carried out by Hutchinson Builders.

G.James’ Role

Circa Nundah required both G.James’ Commercial Contracting and Eagle Farm Residential Divisions to join forces to complete the scope of works.

This project called for the supply and installation of G.James’ 165 Series sliding windows, 265 Series awning windows, 445 sliding doors and 475 Series shopfront / fixed windows.

All aluminium framing was extruded and powder coated in-house and finished in Precious Pewter Pearl.

More to come

G.James have enjoyed a close working relationship with Hutchinson Builders over the course of this project. Plans for the next residential building on the site – Circa Dos, were unveiled last year, and construction is just beginning. For further information about this project or our residential solutions please contact the G.James Eagle Farm Branch on (07) 3877 2844 or via email at

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.

Project focus: The Hyde Apartments, Sydney

About The Hyde

Overlooking Sydney’s famed Hyde park, “The Hyde” is now one of Sydney’s most prestigious addresses. The Hyde offers stunning views of Hyde Park itself, as well as views over Sydney Harbour and many of central Sydney’s other landmarks.

The site was formerly home to a medium rise office building constructed in the 1970s, which was demolished to make way for the new residential tower, which is 34 stories tall and contains 131 apartments. The Hyde is also home to one of Sydney’s most expensive penthouses, which is formed by the uppermost two floors of the building.

The Architect and Developer

The Hyde was designed by award winning architects WOHA, and constructed by Grocon for developer Stockland.

WOHA’s approach was to emphasise the site’s advantages, so the north facing façade has been developed as a transparent curtain wall that gives a spectacular backdrop to everyday life.

G.James’ Role

The most visible contribution G.James made to the Hyde is the curtain wall on the north face of the building. The curtain wall uses a mixture of centre pocket & front pocket glazing to add a visual texture to the façade.

The north facing façade is exposed to direct sunlight, so a number of climate control measures were used to mitigate the effect of the sun’s heat. A custom sunshade solution was designed to help shield the building from the sun. Enclosed indoor/outdoor balcony areas were also incorporated into the building, these are able to be opened for ventilation in fair weather.

The front of the building also contains planter boxes, which are planted with climbing vines. The curtain wall on the lower floors integrates a supporting grate structure which protects these boxes, and encourages the vines to grow up the building.

The rear façade features a striking pattern of contrasting shades of grey concrete. Punched windows supplied by G.James are a subtle addition to this face of the building.

On the ground floor, the shopfront uses channel glazed floor to ceiling glass. An internal water feature created the added challenge of interfacing its supporting structure with the shopfront glazing.

G.James’ 445 series sliding doors were used in the apartments, the use of which required an interface between the internal framing for the sliding doors and the curtain wall. This arrangement presented an interesting technical challenge, as the interface had to allow the curtain wall to move independantly of the internal structure (to accomodate factors such as thermal expansion and wind loading), whilst still remaining weather tight and allowing for water drainage.

Making it Happen

Façade Mockup

The Hyde glazing was designed and manufactured from the Brisbane commercial divisions and delivered and fitted in situ by our Sydney branch.  Project management was performed at both ends to assist in the smooth running of the job.

A section of the building was recreated on the G.James prototype testing facility, where a full range of pressure and water tests were completed successfully with a wide range of people involved with its development and testing review, including builders, consultants and engineers.

Although the Hyde provided more than its share of design difficulties, each was overcome in a timely manner to the success of the final product.  Extensive testing was carried out on site to ensure high quality attainment of the design resolutions.

G.James has nearly 40 years experience in construction of large commercial facades and has continually demonstrated its expertise by meeting the the requirements of the ever challenging design aspirations of clients and architects.

Photographs courtesy of Larissa McCollin