CanstructionOC 2017: The Contribution of Art to Alleviate Hunger 4

By now you probably have had the chance to experience and admire the outstanding Canstruction exhibits at ARTIC, South Coast Plaza and John Wayne Airport.

For the 10th consecutive year, Canstruction is dedicated to raising awareness about hunger by making a difference in the lives of one-in-five children who struggle with it every day in our beloved Orange County community. Most of the hungry are part of the working poor who are trying their best to provide food for their families, or seniors on fixed incomes who simply cannot make ends meet. With sky-high rents, rising medical costs and under-employment, too many are forced to make hard choices between food and paying the rent or buying the medicine they need.

This year’s 13 local architectural, construction, engineering, planning and design teams had 12 hours to create these phenomenal structures built entirely out of canned food. From a Smurf mushroom home to a fire-breathing dragon, all teams have worked hard donating their time and creativity to build these impressive visual displays. Once the competition is over, all the canned food is donated to the OC Food Bank. The total amount of cans utilized this year were 77,333, representing the outstanding equivalent of 49,000 meals.

Canstruction was originally inspired by a group of New York architects and engineers in 1992. These architects introduced citywide Canstruction competitions with the purpose of uniting the design, engineering and construction industry. The innovative and fun architecture and engineering exhibitions provided art and inspiration to the local community, as well as canned food to local hunger relief organizations. Since its inception, Canstruction has contributed more than 50 million pounds of food for local food banks. Today, the event is held in more than 150 cities worldwide.

Throughout the years, the organization has seen an uptick in competitiveness. Participants, such as John Deere in 2012, raised the bar considerably by putting to work a team of 450 John Deere volunteers, including employees, retirees, employee families and friends. Together, they built a 60-ft. wide, 80 ft. long, 16 ft. tall and 170-ton sculpture representing John Deere’s new S-Series Combine corn harvester. 
The sculpture depicted the vital role America’s farmers play in feeding the world. The project took more than 1,800 hours to erect, much more time than the 12 hours our local teams have to do the job. John Deere’s sculpture is an example of commitment towards the community and an illustration of the size of impact that Canstruction can generate.

This year’s local participants were: Hensel Phelps; AECOM Orange; Disneyland Resort; Gensler & CDG; the group formed by JZMK Partners, Fuscoe Engineering and The New Home Company; Little; the group formed by McCarthy Building Company, Ficcadenti, Waggoner, and Castle Structural Engineers; Shawmut Design & Construction; SVA and PSE; Swinerton & JCJ Architecture; and the group formed by WATG and Oltmans, In addition, longtime supporters Southern California Edison and platinum sponsor Fluor Corporation also participated.

For the first time in the competition, the People’s Choice Award was tallied by utilizing public cash donations as a vote for their favorite structure.

The 2017 winners by category are as follows: Best Original Design to the group formed by McCarthy Building Company, Ficcadenti, Waggoner and Castle Structural Engineers with a 12,940 can Smurf Mushroom House sculpture; Best Structural Ingenuity to Little for its 7,650 can sculpture Yoshi & Mario; Best Use of Labels to Southern California Edison with a 4,554 can electric vehicle; Best Meal to Fluor Corporation with a 4,650 can Guardians of the Galaxy sculpture.

Honorable mention went to three teams: WATG and Oltmans; JZMK, Fuscoe Engineering and The New Home Company; and Disneyland Resort’s Design & Engineering Department.

Canstruction OC’s annual art competition starts with just one can to feed the hungry, lifts the spirit and changes the world. As Pablo Picasso said, “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.”