• Agents of Change

    • As a possible and symbolic message, an architectural firm converted an abandoned Walmart into the largest and best equipped library in the United States.

    An abandoned Walmart is transformed into the largest library in the United States / 

    The United States is considered to be the ultimate icon of industrial consumerism: of those immediate and disposable products, which in turn makes them fleeting and replaceable. The current American allegory is incessantly manifested through the “American dream”; that is, seeking to constantly increase a person’s income to later and persistently spend it. Walmart, a company born and developed in the U.S.A, is the emblematic example of this logic “the market for the market”, which is usually associated with an overflowing expansion, which is also the destructor of millions of local businesses around the world.

    Fortunately, despite the imperative consumerism of our times, cultural consumerism still survives, which requires time and space. Its neurological demands such as attention and imagination, the amount of sensibility it requires, make this experience a truly enriching action. The consumption of literature is antagonistic with that of immediateness: like that of spectacles, industrially produce food and fashion, to name a few.

     In this context, the fact that the architectural firm Scherer & Rockcastle will transform an abandoned Walmart for The 2012 Library Interior Design Awards, into the greatest library in the United States, which conveys a symbolic and unique message. As if this was about an important retaliation, thus culture is cemented over the ruins of Walmart, “The King” of immediate consumerism.

    Located in McAllen, Texas, this library measures 123 square metres, the equivalent of two and half football fields. The giant and bibliophile space, whose name is the McAllen Public Library, features six computer labs for teenagers, 14 study rooms, 64 general computer labs, an auditorium, an art gallery, a book store and a coffee shop, among other amenities.

    Adapting abandoned urban spaces has been a growing trend in the last couple of decades, especially in the form of cultural spaces. Advantageously using buildings which were “discarded”, and whose initial purpose was that of immediate consumption, is in itself a manifesto of sorts: within a healthy society, the largest spaces should be used to expand people’s mental horizons. 

    Tagged: libraries, spread of culture, books, Agents of Change