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What does a museum that serves its community look like? How can we create new understandings of the role of a cultural institution and its public purpose?


Storefront for Art and Architecture and Taller Creando Sin Encargos announce an open call for ideas to reimagine the historic Infanzón Building, located in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The building, which has been abandoned for over two decades, is poised to serve as the permanent home of the Museum of History and Community of Puerta de Tierra (MHC PDT).


This open call for proposals is an extension of the exhibition Aquí vive gente (People Live Here) by Brigada Puerta de Tierra, presented at Storefront’s gallery space from June 1st-September 7th, 2019. The exhibition is the first public presentation of the nascent MHC PDT, which has a mission “to affirm, care for, and carry with pride and dignity the cultural legacy of the neighborhood through community participation, and to preserve the cultural heritage and collective memory of Puerta de Tierra.”


The open call aims to support Brigada Puerta de Tierra, a community collective and activist group that works with artists, youth, and residents of the neighborhood of Puerta de Tierra, in their mission to convert the Infanzón Building into the MHC PDT.  Since 2016, the collective has been working with the community of Puerta de Tierra to clean, restore, and preserve the building for this use.


Open Call Format

The MHC PDT is a self-organized neighborhood initiative that has used horizontal principles of community building to imagine a vibrant community center for the people of Puerta de Tierra. This open call reflects the values of the community and the organizing principles of Brigada Puerta de Tierra, the group that initiated the project.


The call is open to everyone: architects and designers, artists and activists, children and adults, and anyone who wants to share their creativity through proposals to adapt, revitalize, and reimagine a space of cultural preservation alongside the residents of Puerta de Tierra. The call asks for proposals to transform the Infanzón Building into the Museum of History and Community of Puerta de Tierra, envisioning the building beyond its current state and presenting ideas to host the museum’s collection and spaces for community meetings and workshops. 


Submissions can be detailed drawings, conceptual collages, visual manifestos, or graphic provocations that question the role of the museum. Successful submissions will spark collective imagination about the future of the museum and generate responses that are in dialogue with the needs of the Puerta de Tierra community. Vision and creativity will be prioritized over professional skills, and the final selected entries will reflect a mix of submissions from community members and others who are interested in the prompt.


Open call entries will be exhibited locally in San Juan, and the community of Puerta de Tierra will make a selection of three projects that best align with their visions for the potential use of the Infanzón Building. The creators of the selected entries will be invited to participate in one-on-one workshop sessions with local and international reviewers, who will provide commentary and feedback to further refine proposals.


Final proposals will be presented by their creators at the Building Cycles Assembly, a large-scale gathering in the summer of 2020 that marks the culmination of Storefront’s year-long series of exhibitions and public events. Entries will additionally be published on Storefront’s digital platforms and released in partnership with local and international media.


About the Reviewers

Storefront for Art and Architecture and Taller Creando Sin Encargos have invited a multi-disciplinary group of reviewers whose work addresses community engagement, urban planning, history, and institution-building with a focus on the context of Puerta de Tierra and San Juan, Puerto Rico. More information about the reviewers will be made public throughout the call.


Application Calendar 

September 6th, 2019: Announcement of the open call

December 20th, 2019: Deadline for entries

February 2020: Exhibition of all entries in San Juan, Puerto Rico

March 2020: Public vote and announcement of the three selected projects

March – July 2020: Workshops with reviewers for selected projects

August 2020: Presentation of selected projects at the Building Cycles Assembly in NYC


Application Materials

Applicants are requested to submit:


  • Poster: A poster-size document in A1 format (594 x 841 mm or 23.4 x 33.1 in) that communicates the main concepts behind the entry. Please note that printed versions of these posters will be displayed in San Juan, Puerto Rico for community selection.
  • Images: 3-7 additional images that represent the project. Images can be produced in different media such as drawing, rendering, collage, painting, photography, etc.
  • Statement: A brief statement in English or Spanish about the key concepts behind the proposal that describes strategies to transform the current building into a museum, including ideas for exhibitions spaces and areas for workshops and community programs. (Maximum word count = 500).


Background Materials

Read more about the Edificio Infanzón here.


The Infanzón Building is located at the corner of San Agustín and Tadeo Rivera streets. See here for a Google Street View of the building. For images of the cleanup and the current state of the Infanzón Building, please see here


Submission Information

Email (Preferred): Applications should be sent as three separate PDF files to with the subject line “Call for Ideas – MHC PDT – [Title of Project].” Each file should be a maximum of 5 MB. Please title files as follows:

1. Poster: [Project Title_Poster]

2. Images (in a combined PDF file): [Project Title_Images]

3. Statement: [Project Title_Statement]


Mail: Please mail all documents in a single package to the address below. Please include a return address as well as a cover sheet with your name and contact info (phone number and/or email) in the package.


Brigada Puerta de Tierra

Falansterio, Apt. N-9

Puerta de Tierra

San Juan, PR 00901


To receive ongoing news and updates about the open call, sign up here.


Questions? Email