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Archer & Buchanan's Lenfest Center opens at ChesLen Preserve
Nestled into the side of a slope within 1,263 acres of dense woods and wildflower meadows, the 9,300-sf, two-story LenFest Management and Preserve Center is reminiscent of a Pennsylvania bank barn, with its exposed timber frame structure, metal seamed roof, and stone exterior.
WEST CHESTER, PA.- Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd.’s new preservation management center has opened in the Cheslen Preserve in Newlin Township, Pennsylvania. The Lenfest Center will provide a base of operations for Natural Land Trust’s management of the preserve and a comfortable public space for visitors to the preserve.

“The woods, fields and farmland of Chester County inspired the project,” said architect Daniel G. Russoniello, AIA, LEED AP. “The selection of materials, the colors, scale, texture and character all draw on the region’s agrarian heritage.”

Nestled into the side of a slope within 1,263 acres of dense woods and wildflower meadows, the 9,300-sf, two-story LenFest Management and Preserve Center is reminiscent of a Pennsylvania bank barn, with its exposed timber frame structure, metal seamed roof, and stone exterior.

“Because of the slope, only one story of the building is visible from the road,” said Russoniello. “It was important to fit the building into the natural surroundings as gracefully as possible.”

Across a grassy court, the 1,000-sf Open Air Pavilion supports outdoor educational programs for community and environmental groups as well as shelter, shade and public accommodations for visitors.

Sustainable features include ground-coupled geothermal heating and cooling, high-efficiency lighting, low flow and waterless plumbing, rain gardens and recycled construction materials reclaimed from the site. The new facility provides offices, meeting rooms and a kitchenette for preserve staff, and storage and maintenance areas for preserve equipment.

“Probably the most sustainable feature of the project,” Russoniello added, “was removing the old mushroom processing plant, reusing the demolition material on site, and restoring an industrial / agricultural area to its original meadow state. This is a very generous gift from the Lenfests and the Preserve highlights the important work of Natural Lands Trust.”

The ChesLen Preserve was established in 2007 as a result of a land donation by philanthropists Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest, whose support also made the Lenfest Center possible. Formerly mushroom fields, the preserve includes several miles of the Brandywine Creek.

The project was led by the design team of Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd. with Keast & Hood Co. structural engineers; Bruce E. Brooks & Associates m/e/p engineers; SITE Engineering Concepts civil engineers; and Jonathan Alderson landscape architects.

Natural Lands Trust, the region’s foremost conservation organization, protects the forests, fields, wetlands and streams that are essential to the sustainability and quality of life in eastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey.

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