In the third in a series of four community meetings on April 14, Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza (FHMP) in partnership with architectural firm Perkins Eastman presented four preliminary drawings for the future design of Harvey Milk Plaza located on the corner of Market and Castro Streets. Public comments on the proposals ran until April 30.
Building on an SFMTA accessibility improvement project, the four proposals are designed to ensure a safe and efficient transit station and public space that truly honors the heritage of the San Francisco icon. Harvey Milk, according to the FHMP. The designs presented to the community were:
Simplifying the landscape of the square, this proposal raises it to street level to create more public space in areas that are currently below ground level. The entrance to the MUNI station is enclosed in a glass structure which can be secured at night. A commemorative timeline winds its way through the Castro Street trail to Collingwood.
A large glass room surrounds the entrance to the station and provides a gathering space in the form of tiered seats. Overhead is a smooth mirrored ceiling that returns the image of the community to itself. This ceiling is punctuated with a circular opening through which the large rainbow flag can be seen above.
A new rectangular shape embedded in the ground rises near Castro Street to create a cover over the entrance to the MUNI station below. Atop this elevated end is a meandering commemorative timeline, and at the opposite end, terraced seating and a new open space. On the lobby level is a community hall and additional commemorative items including a mural.
Organic shapes rise from the ground to create additional gathering space in the square. An endless looping chronology that winds through the entire site invites movement throughout the square. A glazed metal chime and lighting effects illuminate when a button is pressed, creating an interactive memorial experience.
Meeting participants were invited and encouraged to provide comments and suggestions for design changes and adaptations. All four models are now available on the FHMP website (https://www.friendsofharveymilkplaza.org/) as well as on Neighborland (https://neygièneland.com/harveymilk), to allow additional input from the community of people who could not attend the meeting.
“It was a pivotal meeting for the Harvey Milk Plaza project. After so much contribution and collaboration from the community, we were finally able to present visual possibilities for a hub that many see as the heart of Castro… and San Francisco, really, ”said Andrea Aiello, President of the FHMP. “The importance and scale of this project has never been underestimated, and once we have a design that people can embrace, we can kickstart fundraising efforts. It really takes a village to do something like this.
From these four design approaches, a consolidated approach blending together the elements that the community has found most compelling and viable for Harvey Milk Plaza will be revealed at the next community meeting on May 15 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Sanchez Elementary School. in San Francisco.