Canstruction Makes Creations Out of Cans

Canstruction Makes Creations Out of Cans

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Designers and architects showcase their ingenious talents while feeding the hungry during annual "Canstruction" competitions where design firms test their mettle to see who can build the most astounding structure made entirely from full cans of food. Canstruction® events over the past ten years have combined the competitive spirit of a design/build competition with a unique solution for feeding people culminating in the donation of millions of pounds of food… (right) "An American Classic" won the 2005 Juror’s Prize in NYC, using 6,394 cans. photo by Kevin Wick

Competing teams, lead by architects and engineers design giant sculptures made entirely out of canned foods. At the close of the exhibitions all of the food used in the structures is donated to local food banks for distribution to pantries, shelters, soup kitchens, elderly and day care centers.


Structures, ranging in size from 1,000 to 13,000 cans, must be built in a single evening by stacking a variety of can sizes and shapes using the product labels as the color pallet. Structurally self-supporting, the only other materials to be used are 1/4” leveling, cardboard, tape, rubber bands and wire.

2005-06 Canstruction competitions took place in 45 cities across North America yielding 1.5 million pounds of food from the building of 500 structures. During the new cycle from July to June 2007, more than eighty Canstruction® Competitions are scheduled to be held in North America. Anyone can sponsor an event by applying with organizers.

New York City hosted their 14th annual competition this weekend, by far the largest of the contests held nationwide, showcasing 42 teams using 153,000 cans of food. Last year’s big apple event collected a record breaking 98,597 pounds of food for the Food Bank For New York City with 34 entries.

This year’s top winners in New York included a "canstruction" of a lion and a lamb lying down together. It was built by the team from Butler Rogers Baskett Architects.

The sculpture, titled "If They Can, We Can," was made of Bush Bean cans and meant to send a message of peace among adversaries to Washington, D.C., said Cheri Melillo, president and executive director of the event. It was made of about 5,500 cans, she said. (AP, via Wash Post with photo)

The exhibit opened Thursday at the New York Design Center. It is slated to run through Nov. 22 at the center, located at 200 Lexington Ave. For a schedule of nationwide events see the Web site.

Check out these 2003 winners, a huge tuna fish jetting out of the water (Give a man a fish feed him for a day; Give a man 1,238 cans of tuna, feed him for 1,238 days.), a yellow VW bug (Food Drive), and chess board (Make your move to check mate hunger).

A slide show of this summer’s sculptures on the Canstruction Website is visual feast for the eyes. The cobra snake is amazing!

And, DON’T MISS the Etch-a-sketch on this slide show inside their Multimedia page, made of large red tomato cans.