By Barnes Vanze Architect Hannah Weber:
It’s an early Saturday morning in Washington, and the National Building Museum is already buzzing with activity. Scores of architects, contractors, engineers, and designers from throughout the capital region are formed into teams and huddled around their respective 8-by-8-foot building areas, drinking coffee, studying design schematics, and waiting for the build-out to officially begin. Some teams wear matching shirts, others are documenting the process with their smartphones, but every team is convinced they’ve prepared a design that can stand up to the competition. The time arrives for the competition to begin and each team springs into action, quickly and efficiently working together to build an original sculpture—made entirely out of canned food.
This is Canstruction. It’s a nationwide program that engages architects, engineers, and design professionals with hunger relief organizations in their cities.
Dorothy’s shoes were another of our past entries.
Each year, the teams design their canned-food sculptures based on a given theme, and after those sculptures are awarded and placed on exhibit for the next week, the food is donated to those charities. In Washington DC, the Washington Architectural Foundation partners with the Capital Area Food Bank and the National Building Museum to make this annual event possible. Last year, DC ranked 8th of the top 25 participating cities, raising 65,028 pounds of food that provided 54,190 meals.
We look forward to each fall, meticulously planning our entry with sketches like this:
And they result in this:
The annual Saturday build-out, which takes place Nov. 22 this year, is a happy chaos of some two dozen firms stacking their cans—carefully chosen by size and label color—to make their designs a reality. This year’s theme is Transportation, and we’ve already been at work designing our entry:
Our design is one of the most ambitious we have attempted thus far: a full-scale smart car. We are calling our project “Can2Go,” after the popular Car2Go smart-car sharing service:
Our smart car is put together like a good tuna casserole (or casseroll). Tuna is the star ingredient of our structure: all of the exterior surfaces of the car are composed of a variety of tuna cans. But our project is not as fishy as you might think. Like in any good “casseroll,” we have filled the inside of our sculpture with tons of healthy mixed vegetables.
Our team is primed and ready for the build-out this year. After the event on Nov. 22, the sculptures will remain on display for the public to view (and vote on!) at the National Building Museum until de-canstruction on November 30th.
If you are interested in becoming a sponsor for our project, please contact Hannah at HWeber@barnesvanze.com. If you are interested in voting for our model by helping us raise money for the Capital Area Food Bank, please visit our Crowd Funder page here:
Most of all, we hope that you can make it out to the National Building Museum at the end of November to see all of the great sculptures in person!