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AIA-NJ’s 16th Annual ‘Canstruction’ Winners Announced

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AIA-NJ’s 16th Annual ‘Canstruction’ Winners Announced

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While dazzling crowds at the Livingston Mall with colossal Halloween-themed structures made entirely from canned food, the Newark and Suburban section of the New Jersey Chapter of the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA-NJ) 16th annual “Canstruction” event saw 24,300 pounds of canned of food and more than $8,000 donated to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey (CFBNJ).
Titled “Trick-CAN-Treat: Creating Halloween Designs,” this year’s Canstruction event challenged four teams of talented architects and designers to build their most impressive and spooky can structures. The colossal designs were constructed during a 12-hour “Build Day” on October 24, and remained on display at the Livingston Mall through November 2nd, after which they were dismantled by a crew of food bank volunteers and shipped to CFBNJ’s warehouse for donation to one of the hundreds of food kitchens they support.
Team members were responsible for designing their structures, procuring and bringing their own canned goods, and constructing their displays. The structures ranged from 2,500 to 10,300 cans.
The can displays were judged and awarded in various categories, including “Judges’ Favorite,” “Best Use of Labels,” “Structural Integrity,” “People’s Choice,” and “Best Meal.” The three judges for this year were Tim Vogel, CFBNJ Director; Maria Gregoreous, Marketing Director for Livingston Mall; and John Cwikla, AIA, president of AIA-NJ’s Newark & Suburban Section.
Awards were presented at a November 6th dinner of recognition hosted by AIA Newark & Suburban at the Wilshire Grand in West Orange, New Jersey.
“Canstruction is an incredible opportunity to help the needy in an innovative and fun way,” said Ronald Weston, AIA, committee chair for the event. “Displaying the creative work of New Jersey architects while serving less fortunate people in a significant manner, Canstruction is truly an inspiring event.”
Gensler’s Morristown team took home three of the event’s awards, “People’s Choice” ,“Best Use of Labels” and “Structural Ingenuity”. The Gensler team built a 10,300 can structure titled “FrankCANstien”.
NK Architects, perennial Canstruction participants and award winners, also from Morristown, took home the “Honorable Mention” award for its “Bury Hunger” canned grave scene.
The “Best Meal” award was given to Wayne-based Tricarico, Architecture & Design, for it “FrankCANstein” structure, a second rendition of the legendary character.
The “Jurors Favorite” award was presented to Martinsville-based Debiasse and Seminara Architects, which presented an artistic structure titled “Hunger is No Urban Legend.”
About AIA and AIA New Jersey: The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is the professional organization that helps architects serve the public’s needs and builds awareness of the role of architects and architecture in American society. The organization, which was founded in 1857, recently celebrated its 150th anniversary. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., its 300 plus local chapters represent 86,000 licensed architects and associated professionals. AIA New Jersey, based in Trenton, is the local chapter of AIA. In 2000, it celebrated its 100th anniversary. AIA New Jersey has about 2,000 members in six regional sections. For more information, please visit
About Canstruction, Inc.: Canstruction, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that coordinates annual design and build competitions in a way that combines the creative thinking of the design and construction industry with a community service initiative. This international community service project bases its service on the construction of structures made entirely out of canned food, raising awareness about hunger to show how “one CAN make a difference.” Canstruction is trademarked by the Society for Design Administration (SDA) after being conceived by late founder Cheri Melillo, a member of the SDA. Working in tandem with AIA and other members of the design and construction industry, Canstruction has become one of the largest contributors to food banks in the world. To learn more about Canstruction, visit
About Community Food Bank of New Jersey: The Community Food Bank of New Jersey, founded by President and CEO Kathleen DiChiara in 1975, is a charitable organization that distributes food throughout 18 of New Jersey’s 21 counties. CFBNJ is a member of Feeding America, the nation’s largest network of food banks, as well as a member of the New Jersey Federation of food banks, which includes its Southern Branch, the Food Bank of South Jersey. Its mission to fight hunger, poverty, and seek long-term solutions throughout N.J. has impacted over 900,000 low-income people and continues to grow. For more information please visit


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