CANstruction: Cans As A Catalyst For Change

CANstruction: Cans as a Catalyst for Change

CANstruction: Cans as a Catalyst for Change

By Jessica Sulprizio.

Each year CANstruction holds design competitions around the country for architects, engineers, designers, contractors, students and the local community to create 3D sculptures using canned food.

After the sculptures are built, judged and the winners announced, the food is donated to community emergency feeding programs. Local food banks received over 2 million pounds of food in 2010 from CANstruction alone.

(See a video of our build here:

CANstruction is a great way to raise awareness for hunger. Some might say, “Well, why don’t you just donate the food?” My answer to them would be “By building these sculptures, it not only raises awareness, but it brings local communities together and recognizes the design communities’ efforts in helping in this cause.”

Much of the Margulies Perruzzi Architects’ staff were involved in different aspects of design. After a brainstorming meeting the team decided to construct the HOOD Milk Bottle located outside of our office. The Milk Bottle not only represents our firm’s location, but also is a widely recognized icon of Boston.

Tim Bailey and Rui Ribeiro used Google SketchUp to plan out the number of cans needed and their placement. Other team members researched which cans of food would be needed to build the structure, keeping in mind dimensions and colors.

Saturday morning, October 15, 2011, was build-out day. The construction team (Tim Bailey, Joe Flynn, Monica Moreira, Dan Perruzzi, Rui Ribeiro and I) met in the lobby of the Boston Design Center. In less than four hours we had organized, and CANstructed the HOOD Milk Bottle.

We ran into a few challenges along the way. The design was not only cylindrical, but it tapered up towards the neck of the bottle, therefore we had to place enough cans on the interior of the sculpture in order to build the neck. Because the sculpture was 8 feet tall, Tim and Rui climbed ladders and very carefully leaned into the sculpture to finish the neck of the bottle.

Throughout the construction we had our videographer, Duncan Lake, filmed the entire process (see the video above!). It is so great to be able to look back on that morning and see everyone working together to build this bottle; passing off cans, lining them up just perfectly, climbing ladders, reading plans, and drinking coffee!

By the end of the video everyone’s standing by the completed project with a new sense of teamwork and accomplishment.

CANstruction is not only a fun and interesting competition for the design industry but it raises awareness to such an important cause. It is a challenge to construct something out of canned food and it promotes team work and creative thinking in a new environment. Firms should get involved because it is a great way for colleagues to get out of the office and partake in such a fun exercise.

To see photos of all the action that took place that day, click here.

And for more information about CANstruction, or to learn how you can make a difference, visit their website or follow them on Twitter @Canstruction.