Author Archives: Tag Christof, Art Director, Need Supply Co.

How an Unconventional Retailer Disrupted America’s Big-Box Mentality


BEST Products’ Tilt Showroom in Eudowood Plaza in Towson, Maryland, c. 1970. Image via Need Supply Co.

In architecture, the 20th century in America was the era of the suburban tract house, the anonymous office tower, the strip mall, and the big box store. Crank ‘em out, rake it in. Though today we’re moving back to city centers in droves, the big-box typology in particular remains as powerful as ever—even in the age of Amazon, one-stop discount shopping flanked by ample parking remains among the most fortuitous retail innovations of all time. From the explosive growth of companies like K-Mart in the 1960s, it didn’t take long before the US—and later most every industrialized country—was covered with them. By the 1970s, though, it had become abundantly clear that these non-places were a scourge on the urban landscape and an affront to intangibles like beauty, urban vibrancy, and quality of life.

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