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Sawtooth Building, The
Thesen Island, Knysna, Western Cape

Michael P (Mike) LOUW: Design Architect
Michael P (Mike) LOUW: Project Architect



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34°02'54.03" S 23°02'53.76" E Alt: 4m

The Sawtooth building is situated on Thesen Islands in Knysna. This is on the site of the former Thesen Sawmill, which has been developed into a large residential estate with a smaller commercial core.

A number of the old industrial structures have been retained for adaptive re-use and the Sawtooth is one of these. The entire existing structural framework was kept in place and has been restored, and during the cleaning of the trusses, it was discovered that most of them were solid yellowwood.

Energy use is minimized by the use of openings and vents. The new shaded openings and translucent roof sheeting allows for sufficient natural lighting; these openings together with the new natural ventilators and louvred panels in the roof provide for natural ventilation and most of the rainwater is harvested.

The building has been carefully integrated with its surroundings and the urban framework. The existing envelope has been retained for the most part, while the elevations have been articulated in a way that brings the building’s considerable scale down to be in proportion with its surroundings.

(Mike Louw - April 2013)

All truncated references not fully cited below are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.