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Groundworks Office

“A city isn’t a collection of buildings …... A city is made up of people.”  

This is a plaza for people! 

We envision a future when people say, “Meet me at Milk Plaza.” This will be the important gathering node the Castro deserves.  In times of joy and in times of sadness, we will meet at Harvey Milk Plaza.  The plaza will provide a proper place for those who pilgrimage to the Castro, to memorialize Harvey, cry with Harvey, be weird with Harvey, but most importantly, celebrate equality with Harvey.  

Our proposal aspires to craft a fitting memorial for Harvey and a public plaza that honors his legacy of protest, revolt and community activism.  This is hallowed ground, and we believe in creating a memorial that honors Harvey and reflects the faces of those he fought for and fought with, US.  The Memorial is a reflective and mirror-like faceted panel, adorned with his effervescent visage and his most moving and important quotes.  It is intended to reflect the dynamism, individuality and uniqueness of all those who visit the Memorial and Plaza; all creeds, all races, all walks of life.  

With a complete reorganization of the Muni Station, our design lifts the existing plaza towards street level, creating an inspiring, vibrant and heroic public space, one fitting of Harvey Milk and the Castro.  Our memorial for Harvey captures his dynamism and selfless energy, reflective of him as a person, but symbolic of the people he represented.  

With the relocation of the stairs and escalator to the western side of the plaza. the most visible corner of the Castro now becomes a fitting gateway and public plaza.  The result is a unified plaza that simplifies circulation to public transit, removes the many burdensome barriers and creates a heroic and inspiring memorial for Harvey Milk.    

Along Market Street, we’ve connected the plaza to street level with a cascading, animated and sculptural staircase, that provides an ideal urban perch and pulpit, for those like Harvey, needing a spot to speak to the masses gathered on the plaza.  This elevated dais also becomes a fitting backdrop to memorialize the Candlelight Vigil, a powerful and moving event the night of Harvey’s death.  Within the cascading staircase, we’ve proposed an artistic lighting element that remembers the Candlelight Vigil, an event that symbolized the outpouring of love for Harvey.  The faceted pre-cast concrete panels, marked by hundreds of LEDs, will provide a soft glow and a lasting remembrance of the poetic tribute displayed on the fateful day of Harvey Milk’s death.  It is here that we’ve chosen memorialize Harvey with a few of his most powerful quotes and images that capturing his wiry, jaunty frame, broad shoulders and his enigmatic spirit.

We strongly believe in massive change, that embodies Harvey Milk and his important legacy to equality.  We’ve taken this opportunity to THINK BIG and HOPE for positive CHANGE.  Harvey sparked a massive cultural shift; let’s be equally profound with the plaza we build to remember his legacy.   


Site Plan
This is the proposed site plan for Harvey Milk Plaza.  This proposal relocates the Muni Station entrance affording a new large plaza at the corner of Market and Castro.


Milk Plaza at Castro Street
Open, accessible and unencumbered, Milk Plaza becomes a powerful and meaningful public plaza that serves as the gateway to the Castro.  Inset into the blue reflective glass panel are images of Harvey, along with his most important quotes, the reflective panel reflects the faces of those Harvey fought for and with, US.


Muni Entrance
The entrance to the Muni Station frames one of San Francisco’s most iconic landmarks, Sutro Tower, the entry is also marked with a glass and metal structure that captures the ever-changing atmospheric conditions created as the fog moves in and out of the neighborhood.     


With the reorganization of the Muni entrance, transferring between modes of transit is no longer a journey, but an enjoyable experience, shown in this image is the new station entrance and the expanded bus stop along Market Street. 


The Memorial and the Candlelight Vigil
The Memorial Wall will be a moving and thoughtful element of the plaza; it will be an ideal location for people to mourn the loss of loved ones and remember the work of Harvey.  The Candlelight Vigil will illuminate each night and provide a daily reminder of the moving tribute that occurred on the night of Harvey’s death.


Harvey Milk Plaza
At the most important corner, in the most important neighborhood for Gay Rights, will be a public plaza, a place for people, all people and a place that honors Harvey Milk!     


Survey results

This design concept properly honors Harvey Milk and the civil rights movement, inspiring visitors to learn more.

This plaza design concept provides a great urban transit station which manages pedestrian flow well and allows easy access to public transit.

This plaza design concept supports public gatherings for celebration and protest.

This plaza design concept is innovative and inspiring; it creates a new San Francisco destination for out-of-town visitors.

This is a public space that I would visit and use myself, beyond simply using it as a transit station.

This design solves most of the problems that are present in the current plaza.