See How Top Architects Build Sculptures from 100,000 Cans of Food to Help the Hungry

Posted On Tue, November 4, 2014 By

Posted On Tue, November 4, 2014 By In Art, Design, Events, Financial District

Food drives and can collections are not uncommon as we approach the holidays. And with Thanksgiving right around the corner, Canstruction is back again for its 22nd year with a brand new exhibit that invites New Yorkers to not only think about food in a whole new way, but to take part in a good cause. This year’s event has invited 32 teams made up of NYC’s top architecture and engineering design firms to turn 100,000 cans of food into spectacular sculptures at Brookfield Place.

To give you a taste of what’s to come when the exhibit opens this Thursday, some of last year’s participants included big names like Skanska, Perkins Eastman, CetraRuddy, Ennead Architects, Arup, and Dattner Architects. Yes, these are more than just a bunch of stacked cans.

Riding out Hunger by Skanska, canstruction 2013, canstruction 2014, canstruction Riding out Hunger by Skanska

Over its 22-year run, Canstruction has grown to become one of Thanksgiving’s most beloved—and creative—food drives. For each sculpture, teams spend several months planning and designing their entries, but only have one night to bring their idea to fruition. Ideas for this year’s sculptures have been kept tightly under wraps, but rumor has it “gravity-defying” comes into play for many of them. Last year’s competition included works inspired by Sharknado, Despicable Me, Star Wars, Andy Warhol, and Pixar’s Up.

Teams are evaluated by a panel of judges from the architectural, design, and culinary fields in the categories of Best Use of Labels, Best Meal, Structural Ingenuity, Most Cans, and Jurors’ Favorite. The public also gets to have their say with the People’s Choice Award via Facebook.

Bella notte per finire la fame by Arup, canstruction 2013, canstruction 2014, canstruction Bella notte per finire la fame by Arup

The exhibit opens this Thursday, November 6th. Although the cost to enter is free, a donation of at least one can of food is suggested. The cans collected will be distributed by City Harvest to nearly 500 soup kitchens and food pantries across New York City.

“It is becoming increasingly harder for low-income New Yorkers and their families to put food on the table and, for more than 20 years, Canstruction® has played an important role in helping fill City Harvest trucks with food during the winter months,” said Jilly Stephens, Executive Director of City Harvest. “We are proud to partner in the fight against hunger by rescuing food from this year’s exhibition and donated to City Harvest’s network of more than 500 soup kitchens and food pantries across the city.”

Last year City Harvest collected over 79,000 pounds of food that helped to feed more than 26,000 hungry families across the city for a day. Canstruction has resulted in more than 25 million pounds of food donated to local hunger programs since it first started in 1992.

Some more last year’s work in out gallery below.

Brookfield Place Winter Garden
200 Vesey Street
New York, NY 10281
November 6 – 20, 2014
10am–6pm daily (closes at 5pm on November 20)

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Neighborhoods : Financial District



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