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Food Transforms Into Sculptures to Help the Feed the Hungry at “Canstruction U” Event Aug. 25

AIA Springfield Chapter hosts “Canstruction” Saturday, August 25th. Sculptures will be on display through Wednesday, August 29th.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., August 14, 2018 — Architecture, art, and community service – plus thousands of cans of food – will come together during Springfield’s first-ever Canstruction U event on the Drury campus on Saturday, Aug. 25.

Several local architecture firms and students from Drury University’s Hammons School of Architecture will join design professionals around the world as part of a contest that puts their skills to use in service of feeding the hungry. They will build structures made from cans of food that are later donated to Ozarks Food Harvest.

The American Institute of Architects Springfield Chapter is organizing the event, which will take place at the Findlay Student Center ballroom on the Drury campus beginning at 9 a.m. Aug. 25. Teams representing three local firms – BatesForum; Butler, Rosenbury & Partners; and Buddy Webb & Company – will have until 3 p.m. to build a sculpture made of canned food items in a 10’x10’x10’ space. Drury students will assist the teams in the process, and will form at least one team of their own, too.

Local jurors from the community will then judge winning designs in several categories. The public will also get a say in the “People’s Choice” category by donating canned food or money as a vote for their favorites.

The sculptures will remain on display in the FSC ballroom from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Wednesday, Aug. 29, for public viewing. After that, all of the cans will be donated to Ozarks Food Harvest, which provides food distribution and services to 270 regional nonprofits and feeding programs.

“We want the public to come out and see an everyday object – a can of food, something many of us take for granted – in a new way through the lens of art and design,” says Jennifer Wilson of N-Form Architecture and AIA Springfield chapter president. “This will be especially fun for families with kids who love to build, draw or design.”

Canstruction was founded in 1992 by the late Cheri Melillo and her colleagues from the Society for Design Administration (SDA). The goal: unite design and engineering through a unique and fun medium that will improve the lives of the underprivileged and underserved. Canstruction competitions are held annually in over 150 cities around the world. The project has raised nearly 30 million pounds of food since it began. Canstruction U is the university-level competition of Construction.

Local organizers hope the Canstruction event will help build bridges between the architecture and engineering community and the public by demonstrating the intersection between design and culture.

“In a way, this is a showcase for what design can do to help people and make a difference in the community,” says Karen Spence, associate dean of the Hammons School of Architecture.

For more information, go to To follow the local event, like the Canstruction Facebook page and look for ways to donate cans or cash for your favorite creation.