August 1, 2008
  An Inconvenient Truth Becomes “An UnBEARable Truth” at the 12th Annual International Canstruction Competition

Cheri C. Melillo, Hon AIA
CANstruction National Executive Director

Summary: At local Canstruction® competitions held in cities across North America this past year, animal-themed sculptures took center stage as many teams designed entries that focused on the increased threat the animal kingdom faces from global warming. Frogs, each delightfully unique, along with whales, penguins, birds, honeybees, bears, cows, octopus, scorpions, snakes, and even the lowly worm, vied for top honors when a prestigious jury convened in Boston this past May at the SDA and AIA annual conventions to declare six winners from a field of hundreds of local winners that went on to compete via photography at the International level.

“An UnBEARable Truth,” by New York City architecture and interior design firm Butler Rogers Baskett, took Jurors’ Favorite with a moving depiction of two stranded polar bears—one trapped on a tiny ice flow with its head stretched skyward, while the other struggled to stay afloat in the water, no land in sight. In addition to its sculptural and structural purity, the jury stated it was the perfect metaphor for global warming and commended the entry for addressing
the interspecies issue.

The Structural Ingenuity award went to Levelton Consultants, Ltd. from Vancouver with their gravity defying “A Breach in Hunger.” This stunner, a giant Orca whale thrusting itself above the waves, had cantilevered fins that seemed to float above the surface of the water.

Not all the entries were of animals. Other top honors went to equally provocative structures. Best Use of Labels went to JCJ Architecture in New York City. Playing off the popular best seller, “The Da Vinci Code,” they rendered Mona Lisa’s face in two separate sections with “DeCoding Hunger.” The jury was impressed by its very painterly style and conceptual complexity. The team was able to pixilate the most famous eyes and mouth in the world, put an abstract twist on it, and have it hold up.

Another impressive entry and winner of the Best Meal award was “A Different Perspective,” by Fort Worth team Hahnfeld, Hoffer, Stanford. A rendering of the Triumphal Arch, the structure could be viewed from any side and was equally impressive from all sides.

Two Honorable Mention local winners went on to win it at the international level. “Face of Hunger” by DMJM Design in Los Angeles, used 9,000 cans of sparkling orange juice to create a universal face of hunger as a pin-pression image. The jury valued this entry for its simplicity of vision, elegance, three dimensionality and seriousness of intent. “D-Can-A”, by Gilsanz Murray Steficek, LLP of New York City, also won an Honorable Mention with a structurally complex strand of DNA that showed dynamism and movement.

A Most Cans award is given each year to the local winning structure that incorporated the largest number of canned foods. This year’s winner, with a staggering 18,291 cans, is NK Architects of New Jersey with “Big Bird and Oscar.”

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For information on CANstruction® to either sponsor a competition, donate food, or make a contribution, contact National Executive Director Cheri C. Melillo, Hon. AIA.

Canstruction®, Inc. is a 501(c)3 Not For Profit Foundation of the Society for Design Administration.
For more information or to view photos of all of this year’s winners, visit the CANstruction Web site.

The prestigious 2008 CANstruction jury included:
• Todd Bartel, gallery director, Thompson Gallery, The Cambridge School of Weston
• Herb Childress, PhD, director of undergraduate curriculum, Boston Architectural College
• John Dalzell, AIA, LEED-AP, senior architect, Boston Redevelopment Authority
• Michael Joyce, LEED-AP, associate, Goody Clancy Associates
• Laura W. Onessimo, vice president, business development, Skanska USA Building Inc.
• Marcus Springer, RIBA, LEED-AP, director, Sasaki Associates, Inc.
• Jeff Stein, AIA, dean, School of Architecture, Boston Architectural College
• Mark D. Webster, PE, LEED-AP, structural engineer, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, Inc.

1. Jurors’ Favorite: The UnBEARable Truth, by Butler Rogers Baskett, New York. Photo © Kevin Wick.
2. Best Use of Labels: Decoding Hunger, by JCJ Architecture, New York. Photo © Kevin Wick.
3. Honorable Mention: Face of Hunger, by DMJM Design Los Angeles. Photo © Tom Bonner.
4. Most Cans: Big Bird and Oscar, by NK Architects Jersey City, N.J. Photo © Keats London Photography.
5. Structural Ingenuity: A Breach in Hunger, by Levelton Consultants Ltd. Photo © David Roels.