Siol Architects Harvey Milk Competition

Harvey Milk Plaza Competition

Harvey Milk embodied the power of the collective transcending the individual, and understood that the role of society is to support mankind’s innate psychological, spiritual, and sexual individuality. On the night of his assassination, forty thousand supporters gathered, forming a spontaneous candlelight march from the Castro to City Hall.

At its heart, this proposal lays out a topography designed to honor human potentiality and to celebrate the vitality of public life. Forty thousand LED pin lights are nestled between the concrete pavers, each encircled with embedded brass rings in recognition of the donors to this plaza memorial. The illuminated path leads through a widened, accessible route through the plaza, until the hexagonal pavers begin their rise, gently climbing to mark both the new elevator to the concourse level of the memorial and the raised rainbow flag which marks the turn from Market Street onto Castro Street. A curb build-out prioritizes the immediacy and intimacy of the pedestrian connection to the memorial, offering breathing room around the existing flag location and an accessible path of entry from the relocated bus stop to the new elevator. The plinth topography becomes canvas for both public art and public life, sheltering the plaza and offering seating to pedestrians: an ever-changing landscape that can be adapted on multiple levels.

The plaza marks the meeting of Market and Castro Streets, and weaves together the Corona Heights and Castro neighborhoods with a stronger pedestrian connection, envisaged with a vehicular cul-de-sac at Collingwood Street to amplify the pedestrian corridor and new crosswalk linking the pink triangle memorial, bus stop, and greater Corona Heights neighborhood.

Year: 2017
Location: Harvey Milk Plaza
Square Footage: 18,000
Typology: Urban Renewal