An abandoned Wal-Mart warehouse is transformed into the largest public library in the country.
So this is what the future was supposed to have looked like. What’s intriguing about the McAllen Public Library in Texas is how it inadvertently resembles the real-world application of Cedric Price’s blank, non-aesthetic superstructures in which courts or leisurely spaces could be aggregated or even reconfigured at any time. That’s (partly) what Minneapolis-based architects Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, Ltd. have done with their massive project in McAllen, converting an abandoned Wal-Mart warehouse into the largest public library in the country.
At 124,500 square feet, the equivalent span of 2 1/2 football fields, the library consists of a field of book pavilions anchored by central service clusters, where bathrooms, check-out counters, and computers are collected in brightly colored kiosks and enclaves. Large marquees indicating book categories are suspended from the ceiling, nestled among a series of dish-like lighting fixtures. Cutesy graphics sit comfortably beside more blatant architectonic details, from the lasercut perforated feature walls and frosted, patterned glazing. Apparently, the design is a hit, with new user registration up 23 percent in the first month of operation alone.
This post originally appeared on Architizer, an Atlantic partner site.