The Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza, in coordination with the American Institute of Architects San Francisco Chapter, are delighted to introduce the three finalists and their proposals for the Harvey Milk Plaza design competition. Three Bay Area design teams were shortlisted, led by Groundworks Office, Kuth | Ranieri Architects, and Perkins Eastman.

“We are excited to share these three finalists who represent very distinct design approaches that re-envision this important public space. Recognizing the important role of the community, two community meetings were held back in January to kick-off this redesign effort,” states Andrea Aiello, President of the Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza and Executive Director of Castro/Upper Market Community Benefit District. “We then took that input and folded it into the design brief and now we are asking the public, especially the Castro and the LGBT community, to respond to the shortlisted designs."

People are encouraged to submit their comments on the shortlisted proposals via a short online survey, accessible from September 8-21 on the Neighborland website:

“We received an overwhelming response from talented design teams from across the globe to redesign and reimagine the space at the corner of Castro and Market Streets,” says Jennifer Jones, CAE, IOM, Executive Director of AIASF. “The shortlisted teams successfully address the social and environmental challenges at this historic corner, and demonstrate how design and architecture can transform an underused plaza to a compelling LGBT and civil rights memorial and public gathering space.”

Read the competition finalist’s summary statements below to learn about their approach to redesign the plaza:


Groundworks Office

With Gray Area Art + Technology, LINEOFFICE Architecture, Horton Lees Brogden Lighting Design, and artist Jim Hodges

Design Team Statement:

Change is needed here and NOW! With a complete reorganization of the Muni Station, our design lifts the 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, and symbolic of the people he represented.


Kuth | Ranieri Architects

with RHAA Landscape Architects and artist Catherine Wagner

Design Team Statement:

Harvey Milk Place is a welcoming door to the city’s historic Castro District and a destination to learn about the life (and times) of Harvey Milk. This public space is defined by a ribbon of visual content that traverses the street, plaza and pathways to Castro, Market and beyond.

Perkins Eastman

with ARUP, Propp + Guerin, Lightswitch SF, Inc., artist Cybele Lyle

Design Team Statement:

The new Harvey Milk Plaza is a place that allows for and encourages political activism, community interactions, and the unfiltered display of self. A stepping and ramping amphitheater, set within a field of candles, transforms the corner of Castro and Market into a soapbox, not just for one, but for many.


Competition Background

In the spring of 2017, the Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza, in collaboration with SF MTA’s accessibility and elevator improvement project, launched a design competition to reimagine Harvey Milk Plaza as a redesigned public gathering space that truly honors Harvey Milk and the LGBT civil rights movement.

The competition asked design teams to reimagine Harvey Milk Plaza into a public gathering space that truly honors Harvey Milk in a way which:

1. Inspires generations of visitors to the Castro, learn about Harvey Milk and be inspired by his vision of hope and civil rights.

2. Allows for public gathering for protests and celebrations.

3. A high-quality design with an interpretive element transforms Harvey Milk Plaza into a truly unique and important San Francisco destination.

4. Creates a well-functioning urban transit center.

5. Considers the new MTA elevator and MTA’s accessibility project.

Additionally, entrants were asked to review and respond to the details gleaned from community meetings to influence and inspire final solutions.

Initial funding of $500,000 from an anonymous donor supports the design competition and subsequent plaza development. Additional fundraising efforts are underway to secure the additional $10 million USD required for full funding of design, construction, and maintenance of the plaza. For more information or to donate to the fundraising effort, visit