The 19th annual CANstruction NYC, a massive canned food drive in the form of an exhibit and design competition, is now on display at World Financial Center at 220 Vesey Street. Over 100,000 cans of food have been configured into 26 sculptures erected overnight (literally) by teams of architects, engineers, and students mentored by designers and architects. This year’s designs ranged from video games, to city skylines, to bowling, and even three different pairs of shoes. The fanciful display will stand proud until November 21st when it will be toppled and donated to City Harvest, the world’s first food rescue organization, in order to feed thousands of hungry New Yorkers. The exhibition is open daily in the Winter Garden from 10:00am through 6:00pm.
The hunger-ending themes behind these canned constructions are visually activated in an array of topical forms ranging from a sinking Titanic ship (TiCANic, above) to Angry Birds (Hungry Birds, below). The formation of this food drive is well crafted and sure to delight all visitors and, of course, the hungry.
On November 21st, the final day of the exhibit, judges will tour the display before deliberating over the winner of six awards: jurors’ favorite, best label use, structural ingenuity, two honorable mentions, and even the best meal that can be made from the food in the installation. Winners of the design competition will be awarded bragging rights. Most of the canned food was purchased and donated by the teams themselves as they spent an average of 6 to 8 weeks perfecting their designs and one long night on construction.
AECOM, the internationally present engineering firm, constructed an homage to Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, re-can-figured as “CANopolis.” The buildings, built of 2,830 cans, are reminiscant of the film’s cityscape and aim to feed over 2,260 people. Another entry titled “Alexander McCAN” by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates takes the shape of fashion designer Alexander McQueen’s famous lobster claw shoe.
The powerful display of food needs is at the core of the project and its success is evident. Next to each entry is a sign displaying each entrant’s mission statement, title, number of cans used, and number of people the sculpture will feed.
While standing in front of CETRA/Ruddy Architects’ “STOP Hunger, START Sharing,” we overheard several excited children yelling about how many cans comprised each structure. More powerful than the sculptures themselves is the awareness they raise and the amount of people who will be fed at the exhibit’s end. So don’t forget to bring a can!