Designers Turn Abandoned Walmart Into America’s Largest Library

Walmarts, the granddaddy of big box stores, are ubiquitous in America. Their lumbering structures and parking lots cover vast areas – a single store is the size of 2.5 football fields. Often cited as a major reason for sprawl in North America, Walmarts have been further criticised for their habit of abandoning stores for various reasons from upgrading to poor business. These soulless shells often sit idle for long periods, taking up space and infrastructure, contributing to nothing but blight.

When the city of McAllen, Texas inherited one such store, it decided to give it a better use. Designers Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle completely overhauled the interior to create a bright and playful space for books and people to intermingle. At 124,500 sqft, this McAllen Public Library is the largest single-floor public library in the US.

The library recently received the 2012 Library Interior Design Award. The sprawling library contains a computer lab, study rooms, a cafe, an auditorium, even a genealogy research area, as well as separate areas for children, teens, and adults. The library has been well received by the community as registration went up by 23% within one month of its opening. Hurray for adaptive reuse!