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Butler Township, Pennsylvania

Butler Township Community Park

Building Condition Assessment/Adaptive Reuse Study

2012-2014

Butler Township

40° 51’ 14.58” N 79° 57’ 02.83” W

Landmarks SGA was retained by Butler Township to assess the condition of several structures on the campus of the former Preston Laboratory site.  The site was originally the laboratory/nature retreat/residence of Dr. Frank Preston the founder of Preston Laboratories for glass research. He was also an original board member of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and spent considerable time devoted to planning and managing the landscape of his grounds following conservation principles of the time. After Dr. Preston’s death in 1989 his wife, Jane Preston donated the property to Butler Township in 2008 and it became Butler Township Community Park (also known as Preston Park).  Preston Park was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2012. The condition assessment was performed as part of a larger Park Master Plan project for Preston Park and Saw Mill Run Park, which are actually one park divided into two distinct areas by dramatic topography.

Preston Park has a campus of buildings, including six primary structures some of which dates back to the Preston Laboratory time period. After much debate during the planning process Landmarks SGA evaluated the condition of each structure, determine its potential historical significance in relationship to the site’s overall designated significance. We developed a plan for a new museum/pavilion to replace the existing Preston Laboratory Building which requires significant maintenance, is very energy efficient, and has limited reuse potential to meet current park user needs. The proposed pavilion would evoke the massing of the original laboratory and would reuse some original building fabric.  The main event space of the pavilion would open up with operable glass walls onto a new overlook plaza that would encompass views of the Great Lawn and Loch Carrie, as named by Dr. Preston. The firm also developed a series of proposed environmental interpretative elements to be located throughout the landscape that will foster great visitor engagement with the landscape, history, and the environment.

Read the Butler Preston Park Master Plan

Programming & Feasibility, Adaptive Reuse, Condition Assessment, Conservation & Preservation