Gallery: Canstruction Closes Monday – Don’t Miss the 26 Amazing Canned ...

photo © Jill Fehrenbacher for Inhabitat
Twenty six giant sculptures made entirely from canned food have taken over the World Financial Center in downtown New York City. Built for the 19th annual Canstruction charity exhibition. For the event, teams of architects, designers, and engineers are tasked to build a sculpture made solely from full cans of food that will be donated to City Harvest to feed the hungry. The teams, which ranged from Skidmore Owings and Merrill to Eleanor Roosevelt High School, will be judged on how well they used the labels in their design and how creatively they used the cans as building blocks. Hit the jump for an exclusive look at the amazing designs, including giant converse and some angry, angry birds.

Conceived by the Society for Design Administration, the goal of Canstruction is to to showcase the design and building industry while increasing awareness of hunger issues and collecting thousands of pounds of food to feed the needy in New York City. Last year’s exhibit raised more than 68,000 pounds of food that helped feed more than 70,000 New Yorkers through City Harvest. Visitors are encouraged to bring canned goods to donate to the cause, and this brought the total amount of food collected in 2010 to a whopping 88,000 pounds — the goal this year is to double that number!

The sculptures range from an actual suspension-bridge model of the Brooklyn Bridge to an upside down, topsy-turvy town. The 26 teams began building last night, and when we stopped by around 9 p.m., the team’s were busy building and dealing with minor mishaps, like the small tuna and sardine explosion that Eleanor Roosevelt High School experienced because cans were damaged en route to the WFC. All of the structures had to be completed by this morning, and we were told that in year’s past, some haven’t even made it through the night, having collapsed just hours after being finished. Teams are allowed to used supportive pieces like cardboard cutouts or tape on the top and bottom of the cans, but the labels need to be kept uncovered.

Our favorite sculpture is definitely the Brooklyn Bridge by Skanska USA. The structural engineers put their skills to good work and created a 13-foot long replica of the bridge that is actually suspended. To create the base of the bridge, they used cans with pull tabs lids so strings could be woven through to act as the suspension cables. We also loved the “CANtainership,” complete with the off-loading crane, built by Halcrow, Inc. The idea behind CANtainership is that we can use the contents of container ships to help stop worldwide hunger by using the ships to move nutrition and food supplies to desert isles and urban metropolises.

The 26 Canstruction sculptures will be judged by an all-star panel that includes the 9/11 Memorial designer Michael Arad; architect Mary-Jean Eastman, a founding member of Perkins Eastman; New York Times bestselling author and James Beard award winner Ellie Krieger; and more. On Monday, November 14, 2011, the winners will be announced at the Canstruction gala. The structures will be on display through November 21.

+ Canstruction

photos © Jessica Dailey for Inhabitat


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  1. Bridgette November 11, 2011 at 9:48 am

    I always loved the Canstruction competition every year when I was growing up.

  2. Diane Pham November 10, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    very cool! the designs get better and better each year!