Studio 801 home

lu´s pharmacy

We, the Community Outreach Studio 801, are students of the School of Architecture at UBC working together with Professor Inge Roecker (German/Canadian Architect). After a year of dedicated work, the design is ready for implementation and we as a team of 13 students and professionals are committed to building a Centre for Women’s Health and Wellness in the heart of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The Centre will consist of: Lu’s a Pharmacy for Women, a nurse and doctor’s office, a facility for naturopathic treatment and a new home for the Vancouver Women’s Health Collective.

In the shadow of the Olympics and all the requisite construction, we are proud to be implementing a project that is as equally for the women of the downtown eastside as it is for all women of Vancouver.

UBC students have researched the pharmacies in the DTES, comparing the 1997 deregulation of methadone prescriptions to the prevalence of pharmacies in the area. These pharmacies, known on the street as “legal drug-dealers” have become increasingly inhospitable and dangerous venues for residents in the area, especially women. We have produced a book and our findings on DTES pharmacies will be available later this month.

Women living and working in the neighbourhood face many difficulties, and one of them is access to health care. At Lu’s, women will be able to receive the specialized attention, care and support that they need and want. Women will be able to have their prescriptions filled and get advice from a pharmacist, access primary care offered by a nurse practitioner, buy over-the-counter products, access health information and workshops, and use the space to gather and meet. All naturopaths and therapists involved have made an overwhelmingly enthusiastic commitment to donate their time, as have the other health practitioners.

The pharmacy will be run as a social enterprise generating income for the non-profit organization that owns and operates it - the Vancouver Women’s Health Collective. The VWHC has been advocating for women’s health since 1972. Lu’s will be at the storefront of 29 West Hastings, a building owned by the Central City Foundation. For the past 100 years, the CCF has been active in the Downtown Eastside supporting community initiatives.

This project is a collaboration between the Vancouver Women’s Health Collective, UBC Architecture and Central City Foundation. As the group of UBC Architecture Students we are volunteering our time and skills to design and assist in building the space. Our goal is to use sustainable and recycled materials, while maximizing the functional use of the space in a manner that only good design can achieve.