Canstruction Build Day in the Atlantic Wharf, Boston
Canstruction Build Day in the Atlantic Wharf, Boston

The season of giving is nearing and Canstruction competitions (held year-round) are one way to get architects, engineers, and contractors out of the office, test their construction skills with cans of food, and do good in their communities. First held in Denver and Seattle in 1992, Canstruction now occurs annually in more than 150 cities worldwide. Last year 1,200 canned sculptures were built, resulting in 4.7 million pounds of food—or 3.9 million individual meals—donated to local charities and food banks.

Boston held its 20th Canstruction build-out day on Oct. 11. Hosted at the Boston Society of Architects (BSA) Space and sponsored by the BSA Foundation, the event challenged a record-high 26 teams to create canned-good sculptures emblematic of pop-culture icons from the 1990s. Some of our favorite entries—complete with good-natured, pun-filled monikers—are below. See all of the entries on Canstruction Boston’s Facebook page

A quick primer on the rules: Canstructions can measure up to 10 feet square by 8 feet tall. Though teams typically spend months planning their designs, developing construction diagrams, and preparing the mandated sketches, they get only one build day, which lasts about eight hours depending on local competition guidelines. Only five team members can be actively constructing the sculpture at a given time, with an additional team member un-boxing the cans of food, which will ultimately number in the thousands. Each team must supply its own cans—preferably aluminum—through donations or fundraising.

And for the tricky part: Sculptures must be structurally self-supporting, relying on nothing more than 1/4-inch-thick sheets of plywood, foamcore, or the like to create leveling planes for the layers of cans. Permanent adhesives are not allowed, but installations can employ tape, Velcro, rubber bands, and tiebacks to help keep components together.

Awards are given in five categories: best meal, best use of labels, structural ingenuity, jurors’ favorites, and honorable mention. Voting for a People's Choice category closes today at 1 p.m. EST, and all award winners will be announced this evening.
  

The Demolition of the Boston Garden, by Phase Zero Design (5,269 cans)
The Demolition of the Boston Garden, by Phase Zero Design (5,269 cans)


The Grateful Bean(ie), by Goody Clancy (2,905 cans)
The Grateful Bean(ie), by Goody Clancy (2,905 cans)


CAN-Go: Illumin-ATE-ing Hunger Since 1995, by CBT Architects (2,500 cans)
CAN-Go: Illumin-ATE-ing Hunger Since 1995, by CBT Architects (2,500 cans)


Yes We Can, by Sasaki Associates (7,243 cans)
Yes We Can, by Sasaki Associates (7,243 cans)


Kirby is Really Cute, by Payette (3,508 cans)
Kirby is Really Cute, by Payette (3,508 cans)


The Mask, by Gensler (2,832 cans)
The Mask, by Gensler (2,832 cans)


Nint-END-o-Hunger, by Simpson Gumpertz & Heger (5,928 cans)
Nint-END-o-Hunger, by Simpson Gumpertz & Heger (5,928 cans)


Making Strides, by Prellwitz Chilinski Associates (4,036 cans)
Making Strides, by Prellwitz Chilinski Associates (4,036 cans)


The Day After PRUmorrow 2: The CANtastrophe, by Goddard Design and Engineering (3,797 cans)
The Day After PRUmorrow 2: The CANtastrophe, by Goddard Design and Engineering (3,797 cans)