You'll find an array of intriguing building ideas at the Merchandise Mart, that massive mecca of design, every day of the year, but in June, you'll also see innovative sculptures made entirely of canned goods throughout the center. The third annual Canstruction competition, which benefits food banks across the country, returns to the Mart this Thursday, June 11.
Canstruction allows architects, engineers and builders to use their design skills to help fight hunger. Using canned goods as their medium, these creative minds come up with everything from a giant laptop computer to an uncanny (sorry, couldn't resist) replica of the "Bean" sculpture. Each structure is restricted to a 10' x 10' x 8' space and is set up in designated areas throughout the Mart. At the close of the exhibition, the food is then donated to the Greater Chicago Food Depository. For a bit of context, last year's event included 20 structures, which added up to approximately 85,000 cans of food for charity.
Participating teams this year include Bailey Edward Design, BLDD / Gilbane, Booth Hansen, Bovis Lend Lease, BSA Lifestructures, Eckenhoff Saunders Architects, Epstein / Aerotek, Gensler, Ghafari, HDR, Klein and Hoffman, Larson Engineering, Nagle Hartray Danker Kagan McKay Penney Architects, OKW Architects and Halvorsen Engineering, RJN Group, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Smithgroup, TJRWA, V3 Comapnies and Willis HRH.
Canstruction will run concurrently with the NeoCon World's Trade Fair at the Merchandise Mart, the country's largest conference and exhibition of contract furnishings. The Canstruction display will run from Thursday, June 11 through Tuesday, June 30 and is free for the public to attend (although donating a can of food seems like a really good idea).