CANstruction at Prudential Center

August 14, 2009

Juror's favorite from the 2008 Canstruction contest in New Jersey: "Answer the Call the End Hunger," created by Parette Somjen Architects of Rockaway, N.J. (JULY 30, 2009) — AIA Newark and Suburban has announced that Canstruction, its annual design exhibition and contest to benefit community food programs, will be held for the first time this year at the Prudential Center in Newark N.J.

Through their “Jersey Hockey Fights Hunger” initiative, the NHL’s New Jersey Devils will host Canstruction, along with their annual food drive to be held during the Devils game on Nov. 14 vs. Washington at Prudential Center at 7 p.m. Almost six tons of food was collected last year by the Devils through their food drive and coaching clinics, which provided skills session for kids in exchange for canned food donations.


The New Jersey exhibition is part of a national AIA-sponsored Canstruction event in which teams of architects, engineers and students mentored by these professionals compete to design and build giant structures made entirely from full cans of food. The structures take 8 to 12 weeks and thousands of cans of food to create. The structures will be built during an eight-hour “Build Day” on Friday, Nov. 13, and will be on display throughout the Prudential Center concourse.

The event gives architects the opportunity to display their talents while also serving as a benefit for the hungry. Following the exhibitions, the immense 10- by 10- by 8-foot high structures are dismantled and all of the canned food is donated to charity. The themes of this year’s competition will be the New Jersey Devils, the Prudential Center, the City of Newark or hockey.

The design competition is held under the auspices of the Society for Design Administration (SDA), an affiliate of the national AIA organization. This will be 11th year for the design competition in New Jersey, which in recent years has been held at the Harborside Financial Center in Jersey City, N.J.

In New Jersey, the food is donated to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey (CFBNJ) for distribution to community food programs. Last year, more than 40,000 pounds of canned food and $6,426 in cash were donated. Canstruction is the CFBNJ’s largest and most successful event, said Tim Vogel, director of food sourcing for the food bank.

“This competition allows architects to indulge in two of the activities they enjoy most — designing new structures and giving back to the community,” said Kevin McCormick, AIA, chairman of the Canstruction committee. “With the current state of economy, more people than ever are in need of the food bank’s services. We are delighted that AIA-NJ can make a contribution.”

Last year, the juror’s favorite design, entitled “Answer the Call to End Hunger” took the form of an iconic red British-style telephone booth. Other winning designs included a New York Giants helmet entitled “Tackling Hunger,” a model of the new Meadowlands Stadium entitled “MEALOlands FOODball Stadium” and a jack-o-lantern.

The food bank, based in Hillside, N.J., distributes more than 23 million pounds of food and groceries a year, ultimately serving 1,656 non-profit programs including 436 programs served by its partner distribution organizations. Through their combined efforts, they assist more than 750,000 people in 18 New Jersey counties.

Since the inception of Canstruction 10 million pounds of food has been donated to aid in the fight against hunger. Initiated by the Denver, Seattle and New York chapters of the SDA in 1992-1993, Canstruction now has more than 130 individual competitions scheduled to take place during the 2009-2010 cycle.

For more information on the New Jersey event, contact Kevin McCormick at 973-753-3572.

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