What often happens when large retailers closed their doors and move to bigger spaces, or consolidate into an even larger store, they often leave huge commercial spaces vacant. These become not only an eye-sore, but can often be a breeding ground for crime, and urban blight.
Recently, one Texas town has taken an abandoned Wal-Mart store space and created the “largest single-story library” in the USA. The space was remodeled by Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle Architects who took the 123,000 square feet and created not only book shelves, but meeting spaces, auditorium, bookstore and cafe. The McAllen Library in McAllen, Texas may be the first of many abandoned Wal-Marts turned libraries.
The design elements of this conversion were so impressive the architectural firm has won awards for its innovations. “The McAllen Main Library represents an important shift in American cultural attitudes toward tolerating big box, suburban structures,” wrote the AIA National Honor Awards Jury. “The interior spaces have been dramatically transformed from a warehouse to a place with a sense of intimacy.”