WJE Benefits Greater Chicago Food Depository through CANstruction Competition

May 19, 2010
CANstruction, a foundation of the Society for Design Administration (SDA), is a trademarked design/build competition currently held in cities throughout the world. Teams of architects, engineers, and students compete to design and build giant structures made entirely out of canned foods. At the close of the exhibitions, all of the canned food used in the structures are donated to local food banks for distribution to emergency feeding programs.

WJE's Chicago office participated in the fourth annual CANstruction competition sponsored in part by AIA Chicago to benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Competitors were given a ten-by-ten-foot square of floor space and an eight foot vertical height limit. The teams could not cover, alter, or remove any of the labels and they could not use nonfood structural members in their designs.

WJE's sculpture titled "The Changing Face of Hunger" plays on the Crown Fountain landmark in Millennium Park on the city's lakefront. WJE's team stacked over seven thousand food items (cans, bottles, packages, and tins) in just six hours to create the sculpture.

WJE's sculpture took home the prize for Best Meal, Jurors' Favorite, and People's Choice. Other awards were given for Best Use of Labels, Structural Ingenuity, Most Creative Name, Total Cans Used, and In-demand Food. Winning Chicago sculptures, including WJE's, were photographed; the photos will be submitted to compete in the national CANstruction event at the AIA Convention in 2011.

Fifteen teams competed in the CANstruction Chicago 2010 competition. One sculpture did not survive the build night, toppling hundreds of cans across the floor at midnight. All the canned foods were donated to the Greater Chicago Food Depository at the end of the exhibition. Over seventy thousand pounds of food were collected, which will create more than fifty thousand meals for those in need in the Chicago area.

About WJE
Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. (WJE), is an interdisciplinary firm of architects, structural engineers, and materials scientists that specializes in the investigation, analysis, testing, and design of repairs for historic and contemporary structures. WJE focuses on delivering practical, innovative, and technically sound solutions across all areas of construction technology. Since the firm's founding more than fifty years ago, WJE specialists bring the collective experience gained from conducting more than seventy-five thousand investigations worldwide to every construction challenge. WJE combines state-of-the-art laboratory and testing facilities, nationwide offices, and knowledge sharing systems to provide solutions for the built world. For more information, please visit wje.com.

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