In alignment with San Francisco's Pride Month celebrations, SWA Group has revealed the final design for The Memorial at Harvey Milk Plaza, an evolving, inclusive gathering space in San Francisco in honor of the legacy of visionary civil and human rights leader Harvey Milk. During a month focused on the contributions and ongoing struggles of LGBTQ+ individuals across the world, the redesign of Harvey Milk Plaza strikes a particularly timely note.
Selected by Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza (FHMP) for the redesign, SWA's 17,000 sf design will transform an underused and undercelebrated memorial into a bustling gathering space. Inspired by Harvey's message of inclusivity and his mission of greater social justice, the memorial aims not only to celebrate the past, but also to honor his life's work by providing space that promotes visibility for all marginalized people and a platform for future activism.
The memorial will be located at the corner of Castro and Market in The Castro District, a neighborhood at the heart of San Francisco's LGBTQ+ community for decades, which remains an iconic and prominent symbol of activism around the globe. The project team's next steps include continued design refinements in response to ongoing community input, coordination with various city agencies, and progress through the approvals process, with a goal of being prepared to begin construction in Summer/Fall 2022.
SWA's design encompasses three core elements - The Pedestal, The Beacon, and The Grove. The Pedestal will literally and figuratively elevate some of Harvey Milk's final words - "All I ask is for the movement to continue" - and will provide a focal point for the public to address a crowd or event on the site and in the intersection. The Beacon will act as an evolving, digital monument that can be used to display historic photographs and tell the story not only of Harvey Milk, but also the history of the Castro, queer culture, and the struggles and victories of the movement. The Grove, a green memorial on the western edge of the site, will comprise of eleven ginkgo trees that each represent different locations Harvey lived throughout his life, as well as the diversity of the people of San Francisco.
Images: Courtesy of SWA Group