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    An investigation into the potential of impermanence for a rapidly changing city.

    PROXY is a two vacant parcels in the heart of San Francisco’s Hayes Valley neighborhood. A placeholder for more permanent development, PROXY employs a more nimble model for development—a urbanism—for the world’s rapidly changing cities.

    As the architect, developer and curator, Envelope created PROXY as a space for thoughtful : a means to broaden public perception of the city as a more open and playful construct. We conceived PROXY with its short lifespan in mind, and as an investigation of the potential of impermanence—one that values presence and , and seizing each successive moment.

    Since 2011, PROXY’s open of structures has been doing just that, hosting a rotating offering of events, art, start-up , and local food—modeling an organic interchange between people, architecture, and the city. Adding the Walk-in Theater in 2015, PROXY transformed yet again, into an arts institution unbound by walls. Today, PROXY presents a pioneering, free outdoor program of independent film, art and music, working in partnership with our nonprofit affiliate, .

    Although inspired by Archigram’s "Instant City," PROXY was born out of neighborhood activism. In 2009, Hayes Valley was a long-struggling neighborhood on the brink of transformation; the removal of the 1950s-era Central Freeway had ended an era of blight and freed up parcels for much-needed housing. When recession threatened to stall development for years, the community sought for vacant sites. Proposed initially as a three-year activation, PROXY now will remain a neighborhood presence through 2026.