The McAllen Main Library represents an important shift in American cultural attitudes toward tolerating big box, suburban structures. The interior spaces have been dramatically transformed from a warehouse to a place with a sense of intimacy.” —AIA National Honor Awards Jury

Courtesy of MSR Design – Photographs : Lara Swimmer

The primary challenge of converting an abandoned Walmart big box store into the city’s new main library was to create a highly functional, flexible facility on a single level that spans 124,500 square feet, making it the largest single-story library in the U.S. To meet this challenge, the designers had the old store interior and new mechanical systems painted white to form a neutral shell for new patron and service areas, which are designated with color.

Primary program areas—including community meeting rooms, the children’s library, adult services, and the staff area—are located in quadrants of the building. This clear organization allows easy wayfinding and patron access from a central service spine, delineated by a patterned wood ceiling that runs the length of the building. A secondary spine in orange bisects the first to further distinguish the public meeting rooms from the private staff area and the children’s space from the adult services areas.

Courtesy of MSR Design – Photographs : Lara Swimmer

Project Info :

Architects : MSR Design
Project Year : 2011
Photographs : Lara Swimmer
Project Area : 125000.0 ft2
Architect in Charge : Jack Poling
Design Team : Leanne Larson, Steven Rothe, Jessica Harner
Project Location : 4001 North 23rd Street, McAllen, TX 78504, United States

 

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