Harvey Milk Memorial Plaza / Perkins Eastman

Harvey Milk Memorial Plaza

San Francisco, California
The new Harvey Milk Plaza is a vibrant, activated space for community that fittingly honors its namesake’s charismatic spirit and legacy. Designed for activism and engagement, the Plaza transforms Market and Castro into a “soapbox for all.”  featuring a stepped amphitheater set within a field of LED “candles,” Both a plaza and a transit station, the new Plaza becomes an immersive experience for visitors, starting at the MUNI level where a timeline guides visitors through milestones in the civil rights struggle and then uplifts them with an amphitheater; a platform to engage with their neighbors and take in sweeping views down Market Street. The amphitheater acts as a protective canopy for the MUNI station’s entry, demonstrating the fact that design can simultaneously support public transit and create public space.

Traditional memorials are places for passive contemplation which is the antithesis of Harvey’s personality. The architecture aims to honor his spirit by inviting visitors to participate proactively by experiencing his unfinished journey. This vision creates a distinct Castro gateway and a human-scaled icon for San Francisco, it becomes a “living memorial” to Harvey.

The design process is supported by ongoing public forums in an effort to create better, holistic design solutions. Harvey’s ethos epitomizes what it means to be a community member. In keeping with that, the redesigned Harvey Milk Plaza offers greater connectivity and transparency for public transit users, a celebratory reminder of the good that stems from activism, and a literal platform on which to have one’s voice heard.
MetropolisVIDEO: Participatory Design Revitalizes Harvey Milk Plaza
NeighborlandA Reimagined Harvey Milk Plaza
The Bay Area ReporterHarvey Milk Plaza Redesign Meetings Announced