Alas, the Harvey Milk Plaza is an unmitigated disaster. Lack of design point of view and an awkward setting resulted in one of the city’s more tragic displays of public space. A plaza dedicated to one of the country’s biggest civil rights heroes deserves more than a fenced-off sunken garden and hard-to-find memorial.
Which is why, back in March of this year, the Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza, the American Institute of Architects San Francisco (AIASF), San Francisco Public Works, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), and the San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) held a competition for redesigning the plaza.
Among the noteworthy elements up for consideration: a “soapbox for all” ramping amphitheater that allows for activism, community events, and excellent selfies; a “ribbon of visual displays” that move along the street, plaza, and pathways to Castro; and an evening “candlelight vigil” that illuminates at dusk.
Here’s a closer look at all three submissions:
Each design is impressive in its own right; however Perkins Eastman, with its daring and prominent incline, could edge ahead of the others by having the most Instagrammable design of the three.
All three finalists works can be found on Neighborland, which includes renderings, videos, and survey questions. The winner will be selected based off of community input.
“Rather than voting for their favorite design, community members are encouraged to leave feedback and comments on all three designs instead,” notes Hoodline.
Community input will cease on September 21, and Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza will pick the winner. However, the San Francisco Arts Commission will make the final decision on the space’s redesign.