Date of Submission
Bachelor of Architecture
Mine Hashas-Degertekin PhD.
Within the suburban environment of the United States it is not uncommon to see a large big box store, centered upon the landscape without rhyme or reason in relation to the local physical or social attributes. These big box stores are not designed at all. They are cookie cutter buildings, copy and pasted structures that give no regards to their context. The mass is plopped onto the site, and surrounded by parking, roads, and barriers cutting the shopping center off from pedestrian access and its general surroundings. These commercial zones do not hold a sense of place, but rather are devoid of place. In an effort to simplify and ease the design and construction process, these stores have neglected to understand the psychical, social, and environmental context of their surroundings. They deny the public social space for the community, ignore the human scale or the possibility for a walkable environment, and it consumes ever increasing amounts of land for parking, removing components of the natural ecosystem from the environment. There is the one benefit of afford-ability that such an industry provides; however, to do so without integrating or understanding the context, or the current needs and interested of the local residents shows the industry’s disregard for the area over which they have influence.
“Re-Place the Big Box” will introduce a sense of place to the site Walmart on Cobb parkway to create a new communal center. Transforming the big box on the scale of context, site and building to create a destination-based place program focused on developing ties between commercial and social environment in order to benefit the community. This project will begin by re-connecting the site to the context focusing on the two large residential developments to the south and west of the site along with the Cobb Civic Center, the KSU Marietta Campus and the Life University Campus. The site’s massive parking lot will be infilled for a higher density, new mixed land use buildings and public spaces to serve as a new communal destination. Lastly the current Walmart’s building will be broken down to human scale for pedestrian access and for a more livable environment. It’s time to replace the big box store, we need to ask ourselves, what kind of place we would like to live in?