Cans for a Cause: Indiana State Fair Canstruction

Canstruction is a unique service opportunity and competition that combines creativity, engineering, and a meaningful mission to help fight local hunger.

Founded in 1992 by the Society for Design Administration, Canstruction has grown into an international event, engaging architects, engineers, and designers in a fun and impactful way.

The Concept

At its core, Canstruction is a design and build competition where participants construct large-scale structures entirely out of canned goods. Depending on the competition theme, these structures can range from replicas of famous landmarks to whimsical creations inspired by pop culture, all designed with the intent to raise hunger awareness and collect items for local food banks.

Indiana State Fair Canstruction Build Day 2023

How It Works

In the design phase, teams spend weeks and months planning their creation. It’s critical to consider the stability and feasibility of the proposed structure to ensure it can stand for several days and be put together with the regulated materials – canned food and basic building materials like tape, cardboard, etc.

Indiana State Fair Canstruction Build Day 2023

Build Day and Beyond

On build day, The Indiana State Fairgrounds hosts each organization in a 10×10 space to bring their visions to life. Once completed, the structures are judged on criteria like creativity, complexity, and the number of cans used. Awards for the Best Use of Labels, Structural Ingenuity, and Best Meal are awarded, as well as a visitors-voted People’s Choice award.

The structures remain on display for the duration of the Indiana State Fair. After the Fair wraps, all the cans and food items used in the structures are dissembled and donated to local food banks, providing much-needed resources to those in need. This year, Gleaner’s Food Bank of Indiana is the partnering food bank, which supports our local community and is their largest canned food drive of the year.

The Impact

Canstruction is more than just a design competition; it’s a powerful movement and message against hunger. Each event generates thousands of pounds of food donations and brings attention through numerous sponsors and participating companies.  Alone, our 2023 structure was able to donate 5,232 cans.

Indiana State Fair Canstruction Build Day 2023

This year, our team is already hard at work designing for a ‘Summer Fun’ themed Canstruction competition. If you’re local to our community, we encourage you to stop by the Indiana State Fair and check out the multiple larger-than-life sculptures to support the meaningful mission of Gleaners Food Bank and Canstruction.

One can at a time, we can make a difference!

Written By MD Architects

MD Architects is a full-service, relationship-based firm dedicated to providing superior planning, design, specifications, and construction guidance to animal care, human healthcare, and commercial industries.

June 21, 2024

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