St. Leo’s College Entry Feature Awarded


Art in Architecture Prize, Australian Institute of Architects State Awards 2012

Ferrier Baudet Architects with Artist Lincoln Austin were this year’s winner in the Art and Architecture Category in the Australian Institute of Architects State Architecture Awards, announced on the 22nd of June in Brisbane. The work consists of a refurbished covered entry and entry foyer and the art work called “Correlate”.  The original aluminium framed glass wall and doors were replaced with an art work created by Lincoln Austin, and frameless glass entry doors. The commission brief for the art work asked that the artist come up with something that would ‘fit in’ with the existing architecture rather than compete with the architecture. The result is a three dimensional grid of cubes made up of glass and mirror in a stainless steel frame.

The work’s theme is ‘Relationship and Celebration’, being a celebration of the relationship which has bound the University and College over 93 years, a celebration of UQ’s Centenary year 2010 and symbolic of the healthy relationships which bind the St Leo’s community, giving it vitality and strength.


The work is an assemblage of individual units that together form a cohesive fabric. As the primary entrance into the college, the artist felt it was important to obstruct the view both into and out of the foyer as little as possible. Glass was the obvious choice of material that could provide the necessary protection from the weather and an uninterrupted view.

Frameless glass entry doors have been installed which virtually disappear, leaving the artwork to dominate the boundary between the outside and the inside.

The architects approached several glass manufacturers for this project, but the only company prepared to work on this unique installation was G.James Glass & Aluminium. The work was a true collaboration of architect, client, artist and fabricators and resulted in landmark artwork which will be enjoyed by many now and in the future.

The work received a $50,000.00 Art and Place Grant from the Queensland Arts Council – a Queensland Government initiative.

The Creative Process

The original concept by the artist Lincoln Austin did not specify how to implement the idea. Lincoln produced a small three dimensional model made from cardboard and plastic to demonstrate what was desired. From there, several meetings with the artist, architects and G.James arrived at a design based on 25mm stainless steel square tube with glass and back-to-back mirrors. G.James then produced a full sized sample of half a cube with a number of options for the alignment of the glass panels. The artist elected to have the glass centred in the stainless steel frame, so it would look the same from both faces.

Calculating the dimensions of the cubes, to ensure there would be even spacing in both horizontal and vertical dimensions was a particularly difficult process – this was only achieved with the addition of stainless steel plinths on the top and bottom of the structure.

The artist was a pleasure to work with, he had strong ideas and concepts, but readily accepted advice from G.James – particularly regarding the structural integrity and safety concerns we identified. The original concept was a frameless installation, utilising UV glue to hold the structure together. Unfortunately this concept posed a significant financial risk, as any damage that occurred to the glass would not be repairable – the whole structure would need to be scrapped and started again, as individual panels  in this configuration could not be replaced.

Installation Details

The construction of the stainless steel frame was contracted out to a third party. The stainless steel was welded in each corner, and then carefully polished so the welds would not be visible. This was a time consuming and costly process, so it had to be done right first time.

St Leo's College

The vision glass used in the cubes was 12.38mm clear laminate, while the mirrored faces were two pieces of 6mm annealed silver back-to-back. The combination of mirrors and clear glass gives a changing appearance as the entry is approached. From a distance most of the panels seen are the clear laminate allowing visibility through the structure. On closer approach, the viewing angle increases, and only the mirrored panels are seen – thus changing the view to a reflection of the outside.

Creating panels that were mirrored on both faces was one of the more challenging aspects of this project. This was achieved by cutting and edgeworking 6mm mirrors to the exact same size and then manually gluing the mirrors together. The mirrors and clear glass panels then had to be structurally glazed on all four edges to the stainless steel frame. Custom designed brackets were made to hold the glass in place until the silicone cured, the brackets were then removed and the silicone completed.

Due to the size, weight and fragility of the artwork, it was glazed onsite.

The frameless entry door was typical of many seen in shopfronts. It was made difficult however as the floor sloped up on the inside of the building (approximately 25mm over the length of each door). As the doors are opened in, this results in larger than normal gaps under the doors. The two doors also have a large sandblasted pattern on them with the logo of St Leo’s College.

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

Make the most of Natural Light with Glass Flooring

G.James recently worked with Saltwater Constructions to install a glass floor panel in a new home located in an inner city Brisbane suburb.

The goal was to provide a non-slip glass floor that would allow natural light to better enhance the living areas throughout the home.

The Product

G.James currently has the widest range of non-slip glass flooring products in Australia.

The glass flooring products we provide are made of multiple panels of glass laminated together, to provide a strong and safe glass you can stand on. These products can be used in both flooring and staircase projects to good effect. The particular glass used in this project is “Lunaris-X” in our GripLite range. This is an extra non-slip glass, ideal for use in flooring projects.

Available GripLite patterns


Aluminium-X, Incus-X, Lunaris-X and Lunaris-T

The X after Aluminium, Incus, and Lunaris stands for eXtra Non-slip – making them ideal for both internal and external use. These patterns also have an Acid Etch finish, which enhances their slip resistance, reduces scratch-ability, and stains, as well as providing a degree of opacity. Lunaris-T has a transparent finish which offers a clean, aesthetically pleasing appearance. It is suitable for internal use only.

In addition to floor panels, these products can also be used in a staircase, providing a unique look that is safe – due to the excellent slip resistance, as well as practical – regular stair cases can require significant amounts of artificial lighting, the natural light transmitted by glass stairing increases the usability of the space around and below the staircase.

Our glass flooring products have been tested by Independent Slip Testing Services to the Australian Standard AS/NZS 4586.2004.

Who to contact

To find out more, please visit our glass flooring gallery, or contact G.James Glass Sales on  (07) 3877 2866.