History Of Canstruction®

This annual event was initiated by the SDA (Society for Design Administration) in 1992 and 1993. Canstruction® events are now held in cities all over the world.

During the first Canstruction event in 1992, the Seattle Chapter of the SDA held a food drive among architectural and engineering firms in the Seattle area. A team of architects and engineers was chosen to build something out of all the cans assembled. Staring at a sea of cans, they decided to make a topographical map of the state of Washington. All of the food collected from the food drive was donated to the Seattle Second Harvest Food Bank, Food LifeLine. Their efforts resulted in a full range of coverage in the Seattle newspaper and the term “Canstruction®” was coined.

In order to generate more enthusiasm for the food drive concept in the design industry, the New York and Denver chapters of the SDA took the concept and tweaked it, turning it into a full-scale design-build competition in 1993. Under this framework, architectural and engineering firms entered teams to compete in designing and building structures that would be judged and awarded. The larger their structure, the more food would get donated.

Awards were given for the Best Use of Labels, Best Meal, Structural Ingenuity, Jurors’ Favorite and Honorable Mentions. To this day, these are the same awards that are given out at Canstruction Award Galas around the world.

In 1999 Canstruction obtained 501(c)(3) status as a charitable organization, with over ten million pounds of food having been donated to aid in the fight against hunger. Typical hosts include local chapters of SDA and AIA.

Nationally recognized for our commitment to art, innovation, and hunger relief, Canstrucion art exhibitions and events have helped raise over 40 million pounds of food to food-banks since 1992.

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