Alamo Architects and Turner Construction's "MexiCANa". Photo by Scott Ball.
Alamo Architects and Turner Construction's "MexiCANa." Photo by Scott Ball.

The 11th annual Canstruction design and build competition, a collaboration between the San Antonio Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Society for Design Administration (SDA), will take place on Monday, Sept. 12 at North Star Mall. This competition supports the San Antonio Food Bank’s SA Goes Orange campaign to raise awareness for hunger relief in a unique way.

Ten teams from local design, engineering, and architectural firms will have approximately 12 hours and a designated area in the mall to build large-scale structures made solely out of canned goods that the participating firms bring in on Sunday, Sept. 11.

Following the build phase, five judges will evaluate the “canstructions” and choose a winner in categories based on structural ingenuity, “best meal,” best use of labels, juror’s favorite, honorable mention, and best use of the color orange on the evening of Sept. 12. Spectators can cast their vote for the People’s Choice Award by “liking” their favorite “canscultpure” on Facebook or submitting a ballot at North Star Mall.

'Mr. Pac-Can,' an entry in the 2015 contest. Photo by Scott Ball.
‘Mr. Pac-Can,’ an entry in the 2015 contest. Photo by Scott Ball. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

This year’s competition will be judged by AIA San Antonio Chapter President Christine Viña, San Antonio Food Bank President Eric Cooper, State Representative Diego Bernal (D123), a representative from Whataburger who has yet to be named, and Rivard Report Director Robert Rivard.

In a Friday phone interview with the Rivard Report, AIA San Antonio Executive Director Torrey Carleton said that it’s a tough job, but it’s all for a good cause.

“(The contestants) have to take into account the color of the (can’s) label, the design of the label, the shape of the can,” Carleton said. “There are strict regulations on what they can do.”

The theme of this year’s competition has yet to be announced, but Carleton said that it will be a spectacle either way.

“The contestants are really building super-sized masterpieces,” she said.

The winner will be announced during the Canopener Awards, a private awards ceremony hosted by emcee Fiona Gorostiza of KSAT 12. The winning design will be on display in the lobby of the Food Bank for a year while the remaining designs will adorn North Star Mall until Sept. 24. Once the cansculptures are taken down, 100% of their building blocks will be donated to Food Bank.

"CANpions" by Alamo Architects with Turner Construction. Photo by Iris Dimmick.
“CANpions” by Alamo Architects with Turner Construction (2 of 3). Photo by Iris Dimmick.

“AIA San Antonio is proud to be a partner with SDA in hosting ‘Canstruction’ in our community,” Carleton said. “We’re glad to have a stage as public as North Star Mall to showcase the sculptures and help our industry put a spotlight on hunger. It shows that each one of us can contribute to ending hunger.”

Canstruction events are held annually in more than 150 cities around the world. Since 1992, the design competitions have helped raise more than 25 million pounds of food.

Top Image: Alamo Architects and Turner Construction’s “MexiCANa.”  Photo by Scott Ball. 

Related Stories:

‘Canstruction’ Builds Hunger Awareness

The Art of ‘Canstruction’ Feeds the Hungry

Architects ‘Canstruct’ Hunger Awareness

SA Food Bank: Beyond ‘Feeding the Line’

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James McCandless

Former intern James McCandless is a recent St. Mary's University graduate. He has worked with the San Antonio Current and Texas Public Radio.