As an award winning sustainable architectural practice we make environmentally sound, beautiful places to shelter, live and work.




stephen sainsbury architect

SSa Logo            We undertake the architectural process in the belief that environmentally aware buildings can be luxurious, inspiring and delightful places to live, work and play.  The practice aim is to achieve the highest possible aesthetic return for the lowest achievable ecological impact.





Stephen Sainsbury




AACA Registration  6643






The practice specialises in design of low environmental impact buildings, with a broad and adaptive palette of materials, structural systems and forms.  

The practice also consults extensively on environmentally sound design and construction techniques for architects, builders and owner builders.   

The practice is experienced in such construction forms as traditional joined timber frames (no nails, screws, bolts or other fixings), straw bale building,

rammed earth works, large section marine grade structural Aluminium Alloy frames, recycled material and buildings together with advanced electronic

and state of the art technology service systems.


The principal is a qualified building supervisor with extensive investigative experience in residential construction inspections and reporting for private clients

and Government authorities.  The principal has appeared for clients and  given professional evidence in court for a number of appellants before the Planning and

Appeals Tribunal and the Land and Environment Court


The principal is also a principal of the licensed building company Wonders Building Company Pty. Ltd. And has constructed numerous buildings in this role

and is an experienced tradesperson in carpentry, alloy fabrication and building.  The Company also undertakes construction management roles on larger

programs and for owner builder clients.



Practising Chartered Architect,   

Registered with the N.S.W. Board of Architects, Registration No 6643  

Qualified Building Supervisor NSW

Registered with the Dept of Fair Trading NSW.  License Number 33386S


Principal of Wonders Building Company Pty. Ltd.  

Licensed Building Contractor with the Dept of Fair Trading NSW. License Number 131614C


Accredited Building Practitioner - Architect and Builder in Tasmania.

Licensed with the Dept of Justice tas - Accreditation No. CC4039 G




Trade Certificate Horticulture, Hobart Technical College, 1986


C.A.D.  Certificate, Hobart Technical College, 1988


Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Design (with distinction), 1989


Bachelor of Architecture (First Class Honours), 1992


Australian Research Council Post-Graduate Award Scholarship, 1992


Masters of Architecture by Research ,  1994

Topic :-   ‘EcoCost’    An ecological evaluation system for building materials.


Principal of Wonders Building Company Pty Ltd 1991 - 2003


NSW Architects Board Registration, 2001





JerraBomberra Better Cities Design Competition Special Commendation 1995


TDA Timber Design Awards Special Commendation 2002  for the TeaHouse


TDA  Timber Design Awards Highly Commended 2003  for the Balmain Terrace


HIA Greensmart Award for Resource Efficiency  2004 for the Australia Street Renovation


HIA Greensmart Award for Energy Efficiency  2004 for the Australia Street Renovation


Formed Wonders Building Company Pty. Ltd.  April 1991, as principal. 

See attached list of projects.


Research into environmentally sound architectural design and construction techniques for development of EcoCost environmental impact evaluation system.

Draft for “A Book for Living Sustainably” currently under final edit.


Practicing as Stephen Sainsbury architect in the state of NSW. 2001 - 2013

List of  Current Projects attached below


Formed EcoShelta pty Ltd in 2005  

to construct prefabricated alloy framed demountable buildings.

Projects on Flinders Island, Tasmania, Newtown, NSW, Hellmann Estates, Hong Kong, Tumut, NSW, Nannup, Western Australia,  Johanna Beach Victoria (pending)






Terrace House Renovations Inner West Sydney - Design, Approvals and Construction Contract management for a series of inner city alterations and additions and new dwellings,

      Phelps St Surry hills;  Australia Street, Newtown (x 6); Pleasant Avenue, Erskineville; Angel Street, Newtown;  Denison street, Newtown.


Moongulla -  An extensive stand alone rammed earth, straw bale, stone and zinc residence in eastern Tasmmania based around three vaulted curved roof wings


Heritage Manor House renovations - A series of alterations and additions to a heritage listed manor house in the inner eastern suburbs of sydney


Piermont Estate - the development of the estate into a series of small mediteranean inspired villages dotted along the extraordinary coastal property.


Forrestville House  - An innovative bushland facing concrete and aluminium alloy frame dwelling flowing down to the garrigal cliffs and opening 8m high to the bushlands.


Bawley Point House - A replacement state of the art environmentally responsible Beachfrontage dwelling on the NSW South Coast







Projects completed recently include:



Johanna Beach Walking Lodge  Design, Fabrication and Erection of an extensive walking lodge for an established tour operator on the south coast of Victoria, consisting of four large pavilions and six accommodation cabins using the Ecoshelta bigpod system. 


Killarney Heights House  Design of a private  four storeyed dwelling on a stone cliff face outcrop on Sydney Harbour. 


Kimberley Research Station  Prefabricated EcoShelta building for an environmental research station on vast station in the Kimberley.


Grays Point House  Design and construction of a private dwelling as a series of interconnected single storey and double storey pavilions on a large bushland allotment. Using the ecoshelta system


Nubeena Hilltop House  Design and construction of a private masonry and timber frame dwelling on a mountainside above a small fishing village in Tasmania.


West End Beachfront Cabins  Design and construction of a commercial tourism operation on Flinders Island, Tasmania using EcoShelta Cabins. 


Another Newtown House Design of a dwelling renovation for a suburban house in Newtown, NSW.. 


Nannup House  Design and construction of a private ecoshelta cabin system dwelling at Nannup, WA.


Stanhope House.  Design of a large rural homestead in the upper Hunter Valley NSW consisting of four large pavilions grouped around a central courtyard with pool. 


West End Beach House, Flinders Island   A pre-fabricated Alloy framed, timber detailed Beach House in a wild and isolated part of the world. A series of pavilions joined by an enclosed curved timber walkway 

Jan 2004 – Nov 2005


Birchgrove House Renovations  Extensive rebuilding of an inner city freestanding dwelling including an entirely new upper floor to make a substantial contemporary residence  Nov 03 -


Another Birchgrove House Renovation  Extensive additions and renovations to an Inner City freestanding Dwelling to create a contemporary resisdence


Cuthbert House Design and Build project. A Joined Timber frame, Rammed Earth, Straw Bale, passive solar, environmentally low impact dwelling for an artist and his family in a rural setting, Borenore. Aug 98 – June 00


Ryan and Xue Cottages Design and Build project.  Substantial additions and renovations to a pair of inner city semi-detached cottages into two storey, high density urban dwellings.  Gipps Street, Balmain. Sept ’99 – Oct 02


The Pavan House.  Substantial renovations to a freestanding suburban house in Five Dock Sydney,  Design and Construction Management. Dec 01 – Aug 02


Cuthbert Artist’s Studio Design and Build project.  A Joined Timber frame, Straw Bale, low environmental impact Studio for an artist in a rural setting, Borenore.  Aug 01 – Oct 02


Old Newtown Morgue.   Complete rebuilding and additions to the old morgue, conversion to substantial dwelling and office space.


The Yarrh Winery.  Design and Construction Management of a substantial new winery building in Murrumbateman NSW,

                                     including straw bale and alloy frame winery, earth sheltered cellar and timber framed cellar door commercial area.


Mackenzie Davey Bushfire Re-Build Canberra.    Design and Construction of an extensive new house in many parts around many garden courtyards

                                                                                          to replace a bushfire destroyed dwelling. Alloy frame, Rammed earth internal walls, rendered Hebel

                                                                                          block external walls, timber detailed.


Lecturing, tutoring and instructing in Environmentally Sound Design and Construction with the University of Tasmania. 1989- 1994


Building Projects with Architecture Students from the University of Tasmania with the Hobart City Council. 1995 -1997


Caldew Park, Kids Fast Train. 

Feb ’95  -  Aug ’95


John Dogget Park BBQ Pavilion.  

Aug ’95  -  Dec ’95


WaterWorks Reserve BBQ Pavilion Design and Build project. Feb ‘96 – Feb ‘97


Ridgeway House Design and Build. 

June ’88 -  May ’89


Kentish Haley B&B Design

Aug 88 – Nov 88 


Barb and Ian’s Extensions Design and Build  Nov ’90 -  April ’91


Badger Box II Design and Build. 

Nov ’90 -  Feb ‘92


PoolHouse Deck and Pergola Design and Build.  Oct ’92 – Dec ’92.


The TeaHouse Design and Build.   

July ’92  - June ‘93


Tony Brown Pergola Design and Build.  March ‘93 – July ‘93


Kevin Brown Verandah. 

Aug ’93 – Sept ‘93


Hobart City Council Street Elevations recording project. 

May ’93 – June ‘95


The Boatshed Design project. 

Aug ’94 – Oct ’94 …


Complex Majority Loo Design and Build.  Jan ’94 – Nov ‘94


Andrew Harmer Dwelling Design project.  Jan ’95  - April ’95


James Dwelling Renovation Design project.    May ’95 – July ‘95


Badger Box II  Carport Design and Build.  July ’95 -  Aug ’95


Underwood Hall House Design project. 

Aug ‘95


Shelton House renovations Design and Build.  Jan ’92  -  July ‘96


The Manning House Design and Build. 

Jan ‘96- Nov ‘96



Cindy Hull Deck Design and Build. 

Dec ’95 – Aug ‘96


Mal’s Place Design and Build.  

Jan ’97 – Aug ‘97


The Harbourings Exhibition.    Museum of Sydney Construction. July ’97 – Sept’97


Sam Marshal Warehouse Conversion Construction.  Sept ‘96 -  Dec ‘98


Imperial Avenue House Renovations Construction.  March 97 – Dec 97


Private Library,  BlackHeath NSW Construction.  Sept 96 – Sept 98


Convicts Exhibition, Hyde Park Barracks Museum, Set Building Construction. 

Apr 98 – June 98.


Byrne Simpson Dwelling Construction. 

Oct 97 – June 98.


Nev and Marg’s Place  Design project. 

Dec 97 – Aug ’98


Cuthbert Dwelling Design and Building. 

Jan 98 – Dec 98.


Gipps Street Dwelling Renovation Design and Building.  Dec 98-Nov 2002.


Pavan Dwelling Renovation Design and Building.  Apr 01 – June 02.


Australia Street Renovation Design and Building.  Dec 01 – Nov 04.


Yarrh Winery Design and Building. 

June 01 – Nov 04 .


Neil Cuthbert Artist’s Studio, Design and Build.  Jan 02 – Nov 02.


Mackenzie Davey Bushfire Re-build Design and Building project.  Jan 03 – Dec 04.


Stanhope House and Eco Resort Design Project  Oct 02 - .