PROXY - San Francisco, CA 2011 Mixed Use Construction

A placeholder for a more permanent building, proxy is a temporary two-block construct that imagines a vibrant focal point for commerce and community. proxy is conceived in relation to the realization that, due to the economic downturn, the sites left over from the path of the former Central Freeway, which slice through San Francisco’s Hayes Valley, will be left undeveloped for several years to come. In the meantime, we contend that these sites can be occupied by temporary inhabitations of retail, restaurant, art gallery, garden and community-based uses that add to the richness and diversity of Hayes Valley.

Envisioned with a lifespan of two to three years, proxy is an investigation into the potentials of impermanence. At the same time, the project seeks to re-establish the urban fabric through a combination of frame, fabric, mesh, wall and volume. As a temporary architecture, proxy makes visible many normally concealed aspects of architecture: power distribution, garbage and recycling collection, composting, water storage, and the objectification of individual spaces of habitation. Qualities of transparency, veiling and illuminance not easily achieved with more solid building materials are inherent to more lightweight and temporary structures.

The retail and food component of the project will be comprised of local San Francisco businesses and vendors primarily through small and portable “pop-up” style retail pods. These small scale, 180 square foot, spaces can be individually inhabited or can be combined together into a cluster of pods occupied by a single occupant. Over the lifespan of proxy, it is envisioned that these very small retail spaces will be inhabited by several different businesses or community groups. Sites for food carts and parking for food trucks will be provided to provide a diversity of food choices, all from local Slow Food vendors.

A partially covered interior courtyard exterior movie theater creates an enclosed volume of space within the site that can be used for covered exterior eating and gathering areas. This space links with an open eating courtyard served by food vendors. A glazed art-box will house rotating art installations curated by premier local curators, gallery owners and collectors. The art-box faces inward to the interior courtyard while it has the capacity to project video art pieces onto adjacent surfaces of the proxy construct.

proxy is conceived of with an ethic of sustainability and reuse. The southern face of the L site will sponsor a demonstration photovoltaic array for on-site power generation. A water collection will be used for irrigation of on-site plantings and the existing asphalt surface will be partially removed to allow for pervious paving in common areas. Retail pods and frames will be re-used or recycled after this inhabitation. Most other components will be rented or recycled after proxy is dismantled.

PROXY website

PROXY on twitter

PROXY Construction Journal Photos

proxy pamphlet
Click to download the Proxy poster we produced for the 2012 Venice Architectural Biannale - poster design by Manual

on site in the city
Click to download ON SITE IN THE CITY, an envelopeA+D produced pamplet with interviews and writing on PROXY's expirements in flexible urbanism


Inverse - October 23, 2015

The New York Times - May 31, 2013

Interior Design - March 2013

Places Journal - February 2013

Greensource Magazine - November 2012

Architect - August 2012

The Urbanist - December 2011

California Home + Design - Nov/Dec 2010

Architect Magazine - June 2010