Lonely Planet Writer

Yes we can! Food banks set to benefit as 'Canstruction' kicks off in Washington DC

Canned goods serve a number of purposes in the kitchen, but they also make great building material. Every year, the Canstruction organisation hosts their annual design festival in different locations around the globe; the competition challenges area architects to create inventive structures with canned foods, all with the intent to donate them after the conclusion of the competition.

A cup made of cans of tuna is displayed at World Financial Center's Winter Garden for Canstruction exhibit and design competition on November 11, 2010 in New York.
A cup made of cans of tuna is displayed at World Financial Center’s Winter Garden for Canstruction exhibit and design competition on November 11, 2010 in New York. Image by KIMIHIRO HOSHINO/AFP/Getty Images

Earlier this week, the Washington DC Canstruction chapter, organised by the Washington Architectural Foundation, built out edible structures that are now on display at the National Building Museum. The exhibition will be open to visitors until Sunday, 27 November. Event organisers are encouraging people to come out on 25 November as an alternative to Black Friday shopping; they can cast their votes for the winner of the competition by donating one canned item, and all canned goods will be taken to the Capital Area Food Bank. Canstruction events will continue into next year in various cities including Knoxville, Detroit and even Escazu, Costa Rica.

We CAN Kill Hunger' by Studios Architecture at Canstruction: 21st Annual NYC Competition - Media Preview Event at Brookfield Place Waterfront Plaza on October 31, 2013 in New York City.
We CAN Kill Hunger’ by Studios Architecture at Canstruction: 21st Annual NYC Competition at Waterfront Plaza on October 31, 2013 in New York City. Image by Mireya Acierto/Getty Images

The theme for Washington’s competition is ‘Movie Night’; last year’s competition revolved around the theme of transportation. The 2015 event collected over 68,000 pounds of food and raised over $5000 in for the food bank. The donations totalled 69,600 meals. Images from last year’s competition can be found on the WAF’s Facebook page.

 crocodile of cans titled ' a croc-can-diles lament ' by Arquitectonica is shown on display at 'Canstruction' in New York 14 November, 2006.
crocodile of cans titled ‘ a croc-can-diles lament ‘ by Arquitectonica is shown on display at ‘Canstruction’ in New York 14 November, 2006. Image by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

Originally conceived by a group of engineering and architecture professionals in New York in 1992, Canstruction serves a dual purpose – fostering art and creativity on the local level, and bringing attention to the issue of worldwide hunger.  Since its inception, the organisation has collected over 40 million pounds of food for local foodbanks.