At the intersection of Market and Castro Streets in San Francisco, plans are pushing forward to redesign the historic Harvey Milk Plaza, which was created in memory of gay rights activist Harvey Milk. Earlier this year, the Friends of Harvey Milk, AIA San Francisco, and other organizations co-launched the global Harvey Milk Plaza Design Competition to find a fitting proposal for the new plaza, which will serve as a welcoming public gathering space, while remaining safe and secure around the clock. The Friends of Harvey Milk ultimately awarded the winning commission to Perkins Eastman's San Francisco office.
In their proposal, the new Harvey Milk Plaza will be turned into a public soapbox that will feature a a stepping and ramping amphitheater set. At night, the space will be illuminated by a field of LED candles. As visitors ascend the stairs, they can navigate a timeline about Milk's life as well as the ongoing legacy of the LGBTQ and civil rights advances. “This plaza not only creates a distinct gateway to the Castro neighborhood, but also allows the site to become a new architectural, yet human-scaled, urban icon for The City by the Bay,” Perkins Eastman describes.
“Harvey Milk epitomizes what it means to be human,” said Perkins Eastman Associate McCall Wood, who jointly led the competition design team with fellow Associate Justin Skoda. “He was a stalwart for community activism, he encouraged debate and discourse, and he always strived to bring out the best in people. Through his spirit and work Harvey ignited a political awakening in the LGBTQ community. In order to best honor his memory, our goal was to create a place for the community, a place for people to be themselves and build solidarity. The hope is that visitors will be inspired to take up the mantle of Milk’s unfinished work and continue to fight for civil rights.”
Moving forward, Perkins Eastman will lead a collaborative team that includes Arup as structural engineer, Lightswitch SF as lighting designer, Propp + Guerin as graphic designer, and artist Cybele Lyle.
The winning team will also continue to work alongside the FHMP, SFMTA, the Castro Community Benefit District, the San Francisco Arts Commission, San Francisco Public Works, AIA San Francisco, and Castro residents and merchants who provided community feedback during the competition.
Find more project images in the gallery below.
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