Adaptive Reuse; a solution for the big box stores

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Adaptive Reuse; a solution for the big box stores

mcallen-clean-entryWe like Adaptive Reuse, but it is a pity these big empty relics are out on the highway, unless some can also become homes…

There is a growing inventory of empty or abandoned big box stores. They will crumble and become safety hazards unless something is done. One answer is use of a bull dozer. Other, more creative answers can come from adaptive reuse. These are just boxes. They can be divided into any number of spaces. Those spaces can actually have decor and flattering lighting.

The plethora of  <insert name of your favorite or most reviled big box here> and others are generally considered the great architectural bastardizations of our era (excluding McMansions), around the world. Though the first Walmart Superstores didn’t open until 1988, big boxes have existed in some form since the 1960s, luring in shoppers with low prices and curbside loading lanes. Excluding a few notable exceptions, design doesn’t really exist is this milieu. Neither does context, or urban consequences, .

Despite the ugly (maybe a reason to teach art in elementary schools), the big box stores have continued to prosper, prompting tenants to leave their homes and move on to even larger structures, leaving behind giant, open space – for sale on the cheap. Optionally, Like Sports Atrocity, or the Home Cheapo Expo Centers, they might just go bust and be abandoned.

Either way, we have the architectural manifestation of an old car left abandoned on the road side. What to do?

Well, they can be renovated completely out of recognition into useful spaces. Places like libraries, apartments, schools, and museums. Many communities have successfully converted big boxes into valuable assets.They are perfect candidates for complete transformation.

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