Monday 03 Aug 2009

Charity buildathon feeds creativity in New Jersey

The New Jersey Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA-NJ) has announced that Canstruction, its annual design exhibition and contest to benefit community food programs, will be held for the first time this year at the Prudential Center in Newark N.J. and hosted by the NHL's New Jersey Devils as part of their “Jersey Hockey Fights Hunger” initiative.

The New Jersey exhibition is part of a national AIA-sponsored Canstruction event in which teams of architects, engineers and students mentored by these professionals compete to design and build giant structures made entirely from full cans of food. The structures take 8 to 12 weeks and thousands of cans of food to create. The structures will be built during an eight-hour “Build Day” on Friday, Nov. 13, and will be on display throughout the Prudential Center concourse.

The event gives architects the opportunity to display their talents while also serving as a benefit for the hungry. Following the exhibitions, the immense 10- by 10- by 8-foot high structures are dismantled and all of the canned food is donated to charity. The themes of this year’s competition will be the New Jersey Devils, the Prudential Center, the City of Newark or hockey.

The design competition is held under the auspices of the Society for Design Administration (SDA), an affiliate of the national AIA organization. This will be 11th year for the design competition in New Jersey, which in recent years has been held at the Harborside Financial Center in Jersey City, N.J.

In New Jersey, the food is donated to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey (CFBNJ) for distribution to community food programs. Last year, more than 40,000 pounds of canned food and $6,426 in cash were donated. Canstruction is the CFBNJ’s largest and most successful event, said Tim Vogel, director of food sourcing for the food bank.

“This competition allows architects to indulge in two of the activities they enjoy most -- designing new structures and giving back to the community,” said Kevin McCormick, AIA, chairman of the Canstruction committee. “With the current state of economy, more people than ever are in need of the food bank’s services. We are delighted that AIA-NJ can make a contribution.”

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