Decoding Design

High design for a medical cannabis collective

High design for a medical cannabis collective

Posting in Architecture

One of the more surprising design award winners of the year is a medical marijuana dispensary.

The Mission Street headquarters of SPARC (San Francisco Patient and Resource Center) is breathing new life into the medical marijuana industry. The center won a 2011 award for Interior Architecture from the San Francisco chapter of the American Institute of Architects for its "sensitive design and inventive detail".

Instead of sketchy looking rooms or unfriendly warehouses, the center is designed to feel open, inviting and safe. The entrance is bright and cheerful with clear signage. The interior resembles a high end boutique with warm wood display counters and a wall of neatly organized apothecary boxes holding the club's therapeutic wares. Cannabis seedlings in sleek trays add punches of green.

SPARC is a non profit collective dedicated to providing high quality and affordable medicine, including lab-tested, affordable cannabis, to its members. The club has redesigned the entire medical cannabis dispensary experience, providing members space to smoke the marijuana by using vaporizing devices that also limit second hand smoke. Even their website is laid out with clean, friendly graphics and easily navigable menus of products and services.

The AIA San Francisco jury who awarded the center saluted the project's success in redesigning the dispensary as a positive presence in the community.

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Sun Kim

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Sun Joo Kim is an architect and creative consultant based in Boston. Her projects include design and master planning of museums, public institutions, hospitals, and university buildings across the U.S. She holds a degree from Carnegie Mellon University and is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure