AIA-NJ Announces “CANstruction” Event Will Be Held at Rowan University in Conjunction With Their ASCE Student Chapter

September 29, 2009

Students Help Feed Hungry With Design Contest That Benefits Community Food Programs

AIA-NJ) announces that Canstruction, its annual design exhibition and contest to benefit community food programs, will be held at Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J., on Oct. 27, 2009, at The Atrium in Rowan Hall.

Students mentored by architects, engineers and professors will compete to design and build giant structures made entirely from full cans of food. The giant structures, after being judged, awarded and displayed, will be disassembled and the cans of food will be donated to local charities.

Sponsored by AIA-NJ and Rowan University’s student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineering (ASCE), and coordinated by the West Jersey section of AIA-NJ, the New Jersey exhibition is part of a national Canstruction event, which is being held under the auspices of the Society for Design Administration (SDA), an affiliate of the national AIA organization.

The structures, which take thousands of cans of food to create, will be built during a four-hour “Build Day” on Tuesday, Oct. 27, from 3 to 7 p.m. Following a reception from 7:30 to 9 p.m., where the immense 10- by 10- by 8-foot structures will be judged, the structures will be on display in The Atrium in Rowan Hall for a day before being dismantled and donated to the Food Bank of South Jersey.

“The event gives students the opportunity to display their talents while also serving as a benefit for the hungry,” said Judith Donnelly, AIA, principal of Donnelly Architecture LLC in Hackettstown, N.J., and chair of the event. “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.”

The student chapter of the ASCE at Rowan University is recruiting student build teams from different organizations on campus to participate, as well as organizing other food drive opportunities, including holding on-campus food drives and contacting local businesses and grocery stores for can or monetary donations.

Each team will have a faculty advisor or an AIA-NJ sponsor to provide support if the students have questions or need assistance with the build. The four confirmed teams, comprising six to eight members, have been planning ideas for structures since school started at the beginning of September.

“Our real interest and concern is simply collecting enough cans to have a successful community service project that returns something good to the area during the tough economic times,” said Douglas B. Cleary, Ph.D., P.E., associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Rowan University, faculty advisor of the ASCE student chapter and co-chair of the event.

This will be second year for the design competition at Rowan, which also was held in 2003.

Since the inception of Canstruction, 10 million pounds of food have 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 Judith Donnelly at 908-852-3113, or visit

This event is one of two Canstruction events AIA-NJ is sponsoring this year. The other event, coordinated by the Newark and Suburban section, is being held at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., in conjunction with the New Jersey Devils’ “Hockey Fights Hunger” initiative, during the Devils game on Nov. 14. vs. Washington. Last year, the Newark and Suburban section’s Canstruction raised more than 40,000 pounds of canned food, which was donated to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, based in Hillside, N.J.

By | Posted in AIA-NJ News, Members & the Community | Tagged: | Comments (0)



Architects are skilled professionals who listen to you, interpret your wishes, help realize your building dreams, and add value at every stage of a project.

414 Riverview Plaza, Trenton, NJ 08611
(609) 393-5690