Canstruction 2009 NYC: Open until Monday, November 23


Canstruction 2009, the latest–and, as usual, pretty sensational–iteration of what has become a great, pre-Thanksgiving tradition in our family, has for the second year in a row set up shop in the soaring, sun-dazzled Winter Palace in the World Financial Center. And while we still sort of miss the "treasure hunt" aspect of the exhibition in its former digs at the New York Design Center, we must admit that it's always nice to have an excuse to get over to the Winter Palace, with its majestic atrium and towering, non-sequitur palm trees that make it such a strange NYC site… and sight.  


But what is Canstruction 2009, you say? Now in its 17th year here in New York City, Canstruction is a terrific "design/build" competition for which architecture, construction, design and/or engineering firms conceive of and construct larger-than-life, self-supporting sculptures made almost entirely of cans of food (sometimes other food packaging is used for details). The idea is to promote awareness of–and provoke contributions to help ease–the persistent problems of poverty and hunger in this City. At the end of the exhibition, all the cans go to City Harvest, to be distributed to food banks, shelters, soup kitchens, and senior homes, all over the town.


This year's competition has 33 sculptures in all, mostly spread throughout the mezzanine level of the Winter Palace space. As always, we were blown away by many of the pieces, especially the PumpCAN Pie (at top, made up of 2,580 cans), Basic Goodness, two above (3,900 cans), and GMS's brilliantly engineered and building enveloped (if ineptly punned), Snakes on a CANe, directly above.

And here's a few more of our favorites, just for fun:

Many firms tried to be cute; AECOM succeeded with Barney, the St. CANard (3,600 cans).



This was pretty amazing: We Get By With A Little Help From Our Friends featured portraits of all four Beatles on a two sided wall. Straight on, above, it's a jumble…



…but walk to the left, and there's John…



….and view it from the right, and you get Paul!



Another favorite Canstruction theme is New York City landmarks. The best entry in that category this year was Canny Island, complete with Wonder Wheel, Cyclone and Parachute Jump, all made from a whopping 6,446 cans.



Finally, who can argue with a plea for peace this holiday season? Conant Architects excellent Peace Out Hunger nailed the sentiment in style.

Canstruction 2009 NYC details:

Canstruction 2009 NYC will be showing from now until Monday, November 23, at the World Financial Center – Winter Palace. The exhibition is open every day from 7:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m., and though City Harvest no longer charges an admission price of a can of food, they do accept donations on site, at the main desk located on the southern end of the space. The World Financial Center – Winter Palace is located in Battery Park City. For more information and directions, go to the Canstruction website, here.

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