Chicago CANstruction® Competition

The Chicago CANstruction® competition is our chosen non-profit for SMPS Chicago’s yearly Advocacy event.

The 5th annual Chicago CANstruction® competition, presented by Whole Foods Market, raised more than 90,000 canned food items – totaling in a record breaking 95,960 lbs. of food – from 18 colossal structures, which were on display from May 13-31, at The Merchandise Mart. Chicago architects, engineers and construction companies created these larger-than-life sculptures to aid in the cause to end hunger in Chicago. All of the cans used in the structures will be donated to the Greater Chicago Food Depository, providing 84,000 meals for those in need.

CANstruction opened with a gala event on May 12 which was attended by more than 400 guests and raised $20,000 for the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Among guests were celebrity judges Eddie Baeb, Senior Journalist, Crain’s Chicago Business; Ryan Chiaverini, Host, Windy City Live; Jackie Koo, architect, Koo & Associates; Jan Parr, Editor-in-Chief, Chicago Home and Garden; and event emcee Bill Zwecker, Chicago Sun-Times and “Good Day Chicago!”

CANstruction® is a design and build competition that benefits local food banks across the nation. This unique competition allows local architects, engineers and construction companies to create incredible structures using canned goods, while using their design skills to fight hunger. All of the canned goods used in the structures are donated to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

Photographs of the winners of the Chicago competition will be submitted for inclusion in the national competition at the AIA Convention in 2012. Local Chicago celebrity judges chose those recipients and are listed below:


  1. Jurors’ Favorite- sNOw More Hunger – Leopardo Companies / ESA (see below for time-lapse video)
  2. Best Meal- CAN-thedral – Murphy/Jahn Architects
  3. Structural Integrity- Little Cans Big Teepee – EEA / YAS Architecture / RTM Associated
  4. Best Use of Labels- 2-Can Sam – BSA Lifestructures / Maregatti Interiors
  5. Honorable Mention - The Battle to end Hunger is ‘On Like Donkey Kong’ – OKW Architects and The Elephant in the Room…Hunger – Perkins+Will


  1. Most Creative Name - Bridging the Hunger Gap – Klein and Hoffman / Walsh Construction
  2. AIA/SEAOI Award - CAN-thedral – Murphy/Jahn Architects
  3. Most Cans - Keep the Lid on Hunger – RJN Group
  4. GCFD ‘In-demand’ Award - Bounty Indeed – Gensler
  5. Whole Foods Award- Knock Hunger out of the Park – HDR
  6. Crowd Favorite - “Green” Eggs and Ham Cracking Down on Hunger – Wight & Company
  7. Chicago’s People’s Choice- “The Grand CAN-yon” -Palmer-Tech Services, Inc. / Solomon Cordwell Buenz

Teams Involved

Alfred Benesch & Company / NELSON / Norcon BSA Lifestructures / Maregatti Interiors Eriksson Engineering Associates / YAS Architecture / RTM & Associates ESD Gensler / Thorton Tomasetti / Gilbane HDR Hirsch Associates LLC / Building Solutions Alliance KJWW Engineering Consultants / Wright Heerema Architects / Pepper Construction Klein and Hoffman, Inc. / Walsh Construction Leopardo Construction / Eckenhoff Saunders Architects Muller + Muller / CTLGroup Murphy/Jahn Architects OKW Architects, Inc. Palmer-Tech Services, Inc. / Solomon Cordwell Buenz Perkins+Will / Executive Construction, Inc. RJN Group, Inc RTKL / GRAEF / Nagle Hartray Wight & Company

Next year’s CANstruction will take place in May 2012. For more information about CANstruction, contact

Canstruction® is trademarked by the Society of Design Administration, and working in tandem with the American Institute of Architects, Society for Marketing Professionals, Merchandise Mart Properties and other members of the design and construction industry. For additional information about Canstruction please go to: