Here is my last current event post for my internship credit! Because my last two articles were about advancing technology and how it is affecting interior design, I wanted to change it up. This incredible article, “Walmart Store Turned into Largest Library in the United States,” is about the transformation of an old Walmart into a library in McAllen, Texas. You can imagine how enormous Walmarts are, so this library houses computers labs, classrooms, lounges, an auditorium, and of course lots and lots of books. The designers who envisioned this creative masterpiece won the International Interior Design Association’s 2012 Library Competition, and it was well deserved. Not only is it the largest single story library in the US, but in the first month of opening the library registration increased by 23%.
Before the remodel
Now! So bright and welcoming.
I personally think this was a great achievement in the design industry. Making something useful again is somewhat of the ‘go green’ trend, and I approve. Recycling buildings and materials is always smart for the environment and for your bank account. Maybe one day I’ll visit the McAllen Public Library for myself.
This is the article if you are interested in learning more:
I proceeded to ask Andrea one last time about her thoughts on this article:
Q: What is your reaction to this? Do you approve, agree with the award given, etc.
I do agree with the award given. It is a great example of re-purpose of space. The building would have probably sat and deteriorated and would have become an eye sore. But instead it now is a beautiful library that serves a great purpose for the community.
Q: Do you agree that the bigger the library, the more kids will come?
Not necessarily. But it doesn’t hurt. Younger kids like to move around and have more freedom to play and talk, where normal libraries are more confined and the “quiet” rule strictly enforced. This open venue seems less constraining and allowing a little more freedom.
Q: Have you ever thought of doing commercial design, not just residential? Why or why not.
I did start out doing hotel and restaurant design. However, depending on the project or client, it can be sometimes impersonal. Most of the time very budget driven. But you read stories like this and its benefits to a community; it definitely inspires me to consider more commercial projects.
Q: What do you think the difficulties of designing a library would be?
Organization of all the materials and medias. As well as keeping it warm and inviting so people can come and enjoy themselves and relax.
The good thing about this library being one level, you do not have to worry about the weight of the books. There was a past library that was not engineered properly so the second and third levels could not sustain the number of books intended. The architect/design firm was so concerned with layout that no one considered the weight of all the books and to properly reinforce the upper levels.
Thank you Andrea for always answering my many questions!