Our Bundaberg office gets a new façade

Our Bundaberg office has been transformed with the use of our latest colour printing on glass technology. Over the last few months we have covered the topic of digital ceramic glass printing several times on this website. Our Bundaberg office located at  49/51 Enterprise Street, Bundaberg was due for a refurbishment, so G.James decided to put our printing capabilities to use creating a vibrant new façade for the building.

The Bundaberg Branch

The Bundaberg Branch was established in 1972 and is where former branch manager Geoff Thorne started his career with G.James. When Geoff retired in August 2012 he reflected on his time at G.James saying “When I started at G.James, this building was the best looking building in the street. Now that I am retiring, the building is again the best looking in the street”.

The Branch is now managed by Robert Astill and continues to service Bundaberg, Wide Bay & southern sector of central QLD.

The transformation

G.James Bundaberg Branch (Before)

The old office building was in need of refurbishment after many years of use. The new sales office and showroom features a fully glazed façade with glass spandrels ceramic printed with a full colour representation of the lush sugar cane that is common in the Bundaberg region. The façade fits with the character of the area, and puts a striking face on our sales office. Sunshades were also installed above the vision glass around the building, to help keep the north facing building cool.

The process

The first step was to find a suitable image for the building. The Bundaberg staff were involved in selecting an image they would be happy to have on their office building. It was important to include the staff in the decision to make sure we created a building they were happy to tell friends and family about, as well as work in.

We selected the sugar cane image below, to be placed on a blue background.

Sugarcane Image

Source image: 68cm wide X 50cm high @ 300dpi (8024px X 5940px @ 300dpi) at full size

The next step was to modify the image to maximise the printed effect over multiple floors. We created a concept render to ensure the image wouldn’t appear too busy or overbearing.

Bundaberg Building Concept Render

47 panels of artwork in total, 15 of those were corner panels

After the concept was complete, the G.James team scaled the image file to suit the CAD drawing of the Façade. This resulted in a very large image file requiring a couple of powerful PCs to do the processing work.

Bundaberg Building CAD Drawing

Bundaberg Building CAD Drawing – The front of the facade is 16.48m x 6.40m, the sides are 5.11m x 6.40m

Image and CAD drawing combined

Image and CAD drawing combined.

Each panel that required printing was then identified. The vision glass panels were excluded and we printed on a total of 47 spandrel glass panels.

Talk of the town

The façade has already attracted significant attention from those passing by, and has transformed our sales office into an exciting and unique advertisement for our business.

Keep your eyes peeled for another exciting transformation in the new year – G.James Cairns.

Who to contact

To find out more, please visit our glass printing gallery, or contact G.James Glass Sales on  (07) 3877 2866. Our Bundaberg office can be reached on (07) 4155 4888.

Project Focus: Five Lobelia Circle

Lobelia Circle

Five Lobelia Circle is a recently completed five level office building in the International Terminal precinct of Brisbane Airport. The Australian Federal Police are the major tenant, having taken a 15 year lease on three of the five levels.

The building was designed by Cottee Parker Architects and constructed by Matrix Projects for the Brisbane Airport Corporation. The building is an A-grade quality commercial building and has a 4 star Green Star rating with the Green Building Council of Australia, and a 4.5-star NABERS Energy Rating. Construction of the building was completed in September and the building was officially opened early October.

The Façade

G.James were contracted to supply and install the building façade. Our versatile 650-500 glazing system was used extensively throughout the facade of the building.

The fire stairs as well as the western elevation ground-first & third-fourth floors were glazed as curtain wall, with the remainder of the façade glazed as window wall. Vision glass used in the building was 10.38mm grey laminate, with red box/black on clear spandrels.

The horizontal sunblades were predominantly of a black anodised finish, but the sunblades over the lobby area were powdercoated with a precious silver pearl finish. The 475 series was used for automatic entry doors. Fixed louvres (415 series) were used throughout the structure to increase ventilation.


A Kingspan facade panel integrates with G.James facade.The façade was installed into structural steel hung off the concrete structure. The window system installed by G.James covers ~75% of the façade face, and an insulated facade panel product called Kingspan was installed around our window system to complete the façade.

As the steel elements for the window install were hung from the structure, tolerance issues were one of the main challenges encountered in the install. To overcome these issues, the install required close coordination between G.James and the Kingspan installer to ensure each floor was within tolerances and the facade was completed successfully.

AFP Building

This building is the first office building in Brisbane’s International Terminal Precinct. G.James is pleased to have worked on this high quality building that showcases our commercial glazing capabilities.

Project Update: Translational Research Institute (TRI)

Situated on the Princess Alexandra Hospital campus, TRI is an ambitious new building project nearing complection.

The Translational Research Institute (TRI) is an initiative to bring four of the country’s pinnacle research facilities together with to focus on a range of health and research areas including cervical cancer, breast cancer, melanoma, liver and kidney disease, malaria, HIV, osteoporosis, obesity, arthritis and diabetes.

Designed by Wilson Architects and Donovan Hill in conjunction with Aurecon façade consultants, and constructed by Watpac, the TRI building is an ambitious two-year construction project on the Princess Alexandra Hospital campus in Brisbane’s southern suburbs.

A Strong Façade

The building has three main façade styles present in the structure, each with unique solar, thermal, and aesthetic properties and was technically demanding with the different systems that were required to be designed.

The north façade integrates a glass sunshade designed to reduce solar transmission while keeping the views of the city. The courtyard, sheltered from the elements, was designed for ultimate visibility and aesthetic appeal, and the panelled aluminium sides were designed to keep out noise and light while retaining a degree of visibility.

Glass sunshade

Looking north from the TRI facility presents a glazed red view of the city.The striking north façade incorporates a red glass sunshade consisting of 1875 individual pieces to protect the interior from excessive heat from the sun.

Due to the sheer scale of the sunshade, assembling the individual pieces of the façade on-site would be too time-consuming. For this reason each façade panel was assembled at the factory, complete with the external cantilevered glass screen.

The resulting panels, each in excess of three tonnes, were lifted into place with a purpose-built lifting frame and used a specially designed hook-on system to make the installation more manageable. Site installation was required for the glass panels over the vision areas, coming to approximately 850 pieces.

Panelled aluminium façade

The aluminium screens are designed to keep excessive sunlight and noise out of sensitive laboratries.

After Screens

Under the aluminium screens are regular windows.

Before screens

Several styles of panelled aluminium screens adorn the west, east, and south sides of the exterior. These screens are designed to allow inhabitants to see out, but keep sunlight and noise out of the laboratories within.

Due to the nature of the hot dipped, galvanised steel support structure in the curtain wall panels, extra care was required in order to meet the extremely tight tolerance of the aluminium screens. Each individual shelf outrigger supporting the secondary steel work and screens for the east and west façades was individually surveyed in order to correctly detail the support steel and ensure over 850 individual panels could be installed to the tolerances required.

The central atrium

The central courtyard is the centrepiece of the entire project, with views of the area from all sides of the building. The courtyard is ringed with large open areas, meeting rooms, cafe spaces and the main auditorium.

The ground floors all open onto the courtyard, with a large glass stairwell at the very centre.

The lower levels of the façade incorporates low-e glass for high visibility, while spandrels consist of external printed glass — said to resemble culture in a Petri dish. The panels for the vision area were structurally sealed to a custom designed opening without any mullions for support, so a bespoke head system was designed specifically for the project in order to secure the façade.

The steel ring beam basically holds the place up.The central staircase sits in the centre of the courtyard, consisting of a shimmering glass exterior structurally sealed to a steel ring beam and suspended from parapet outriggers on the eighth level.

Each steel ring beam in the staircase is made of three pieces consisting of two ‘C’ sections with a straight connecting member. Each level fixed at four locations to the concrete structure and weighs around four and a half tonnes, including three tonnes of glass.

The stairwell façade was built from the top down and utilised a mobile access plant to install the steel and mast climbers on each face.


The level of technical achievement in this building is impressive. When opened, the facility will house more than 650 researchers, and will have a pilot scale biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility allowing the research, production, clinically testing, and manufacture of drugs and vaccines under the one roof.

At present the front façade is nearly installed, and the project is on track for completion within the next few months. Make sure to sign up for the newsletter for updates on the project, including photos of the finished structure once it’s opened.

Project Update: M&A

McLachlin & Ann
If you live in Brisbane and travel through Fortitude Valley you may have noticed the ongoing development on the Corner of Ann St & James St. Formerly home to a car dealership, Laing O’Rourke are developing three buildings on the site. The 13 storey commercial building featured in this article – designed by Rice Daubney Architects, as well as a mixed-use building and a residential tower.  The commercial building fronts on to Ann st, and G.James are currently working to install the building’s façade.

About the Façade

The coloured & grey panels on the lower levels of the building are glazed with ceramic painted glass. Above this the curtain wall features large IGU panels, and a unique “ribbon” sunshade solution designed by Rice Daubney & fabricated by G.James. G.James is also glazing the shopfronts for the ground floor retail space.

The sunshading is fabricated from perforated aluminium sheet, and supported on extruded aluminium framing which includes true curved extrusions. The horizontal to verical twists ribbon are curved in two axis.  The custom designed framing system incorporates G.James bespoke sunshade fixing detail which allows for support of the sunshades directly off the curtain wall panels.  All attachments of the sunshades to the facade occur outside the external rain-screen line, without any penetrations through the curtain wall panels – mitigating any potential water leaks to the façade.  G.James’ sunshade fixing detail enables easy removal & re-installation of the sunshading devices in the event of glass replacement.  The sunshade fixing detail’s rigid connection to the facade resists the imparted wind loads, and minimal diagonal bracing provides redundant support in the event of a maintenance abseiler standing on the sunshade.

The design of the building features a blade-wall on the tower – originally to be constructed from pre-cast concrete. Design and construction issues however meant that a non-traditional approach was more optimal – G.James developed an engineered solution for the feature blade wall in lightweight composite-aluminium clad panels that cantilever outside the facade by a projection of approximately two and a half metres, and continues up the full height of the tower.

Behind the Scenes

G.James have been working intensively with the Architect, Rice Daubney, to try to turn their vision into reality well before we began work on site. Since September 2011 there have been multiple, full-scale, visual mock-ups prepared by G.James on this project, working closely with the Architects to ensure the fine detailing is achieved.

Check Back for Updates

G.James is continuing to work on the façade, completion of the project is expected to be in early 2013. G.James is also working on the two other buildings in the development – the mixed use building & residential tower, so check back for more updates as the development progresses.

Find out More

For more information on our commercial project capabilities, contact our commercial contracting division. Our monumental projects and louvre and sunshade photo galleries may also be of interest.

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