Projects | Archival/Historical/Institutional | Giving History New Life

Giving History New Life

Stoneleigh: A Natural Garden- Natural Lands
  • Historic Preservation/Adaptive Reuse
  • Villanova, PA
  • 17,000 SF
The Haas family donated their 39-acre Stoneleigh Estate and the adjoining 2.7-acre Bodine property to Natural Lands to fulfill their parent’s wishes for the family estate to be repurposed for institutional use after their passing. Natural Lands became owner and manager of the estate property and all the structures. NorthStar was chosen by Natural Lands to manage the restoration and conversion of the approximately 17,000 SF Haas family Main House and surrounding grounds into a library, archive, office, and public use facility.

Natural Lands’ and the Haas family’s goal was to transform the property into a setting for education, inspiration, and learning for visitors relating to horticulture and the natural environment, as well as showcasing a broad array of cultural resources based in the historic house. NorthStar worked closely with Natural Lands and the Organ Historical Society (OHS) to determine the most suitable areas of the mansion for the collections to be housed as part of the Project Planning process, as well as logistics for installing a pipe organ.

The Main House is now occupied by, and the headquarters of, OHS under long-term lease to Natural Lands. Currently, OHS operations and collections are in three different locations, with the administrative offices and fulfillment center of online catalog sales in Richmond, VA; library and rare books in Princeton, NJ; and archives in Enfield, NH. The OHS consolidated these archives and library in the Main House and made them more accessible to scholars and the public. A reading room has been integrated into the space to accommodate 4-6 people. The Main House's non-public spaces were renovated to be a reversible archival storage space with complete humidity and temperature control.