PHOTOS: Canstruction at BSA Space Celebrates Cinema and Movies (and Fights Hunger Too)

Mickey Mouse, Yoda, Iron Man, the Grinch… All of these impressive re-creations of iconic film scenes and characters are made completely out of canned goods.

canstruction bsa space

From can-created minions (top right) to a full “Jaws” background, these cinematic masterpieces at the BSA echo the organization’s belief that design and architecture can change the world. (Photos by Margaret Burdge)

Rarely in your life will you see Mickey Mouse, Yoda, Iron Man, the Back to the Future car, and a scene from Ghostbusters created entirely out of cans, but that’s exactly what you’ll find right now at the Boston Society of Architects Space. The 18th annual Canstruction at BSA Space is on display now until November 1, and they’ve used a “Cinema and Movies” theme to inspire architects to create structures solely made out of canned goods. No glue was allowed, and the cans will later be donated to charity. Each of the organizations participating in the event donated all of their cans–coordinated through Stop & Shop–which will be taken to the Merrimack Valley Food Bank in Lowell after the exhibit ends.

With five people and one can-unpacker, 26 teams had just 12 hours to complete their masterpieces (though all the teams completed it in under eight hours). The challenge to make structures out of nothing but canned goods tested the ingenuity of the designers while promoting the BSA’s goal of making a difference in the community through architecture.

Last year, the Canstruction raised 58,000 cans, playing a big part in keeping Merrimack Valley, a small local food bank, alive. “It fed every child in Lowell two meals,” said project chair Kerry Heckman. With six additional teams competing this year, the total number of cans donated will likely be even higher.

“They really get what we’re doing,” said Heckman of the designers. “They get that we’re feeding people through a shelter, or a food bank, or a pantry. All of these cans are beans, and fruits, and vegetables, or canned meats and soups, which are really nutritious.”

It was a no-brainer. The BSA Space was excited to host the event when the founders brought Canstruction to them 18 years ago. “Our industry–architects, and designers, engineers, contractors–we’re in the business of building community,” said Allison Scott, a member of the Steering Committee for the event and a contractor with Skanska. “We’re not only using our design skills, but also employing it for the greater good, and in a different way.”

Check out some of the designs that the teams came up with:

canstruction bsa space

What’s the Count?, inspired by the movie 21, had a final count of 4,812 cans, raising awareness for hunger and bringing “winner, winner chicken dinner” to those who truly need it. Designed by the Cambridge firm Prellwitz Chilinski Associates.

canstruction bsa space

Who you gonna call? Steffian Bradley Architects created this Ghostbusters-themed piece using chip board, wire, and tape to hold the design up.

canstruction bsa space

Calling all Bostonians! This canstruction would make Marky Mark proud. A local feel from beginning to end, this piece by Tsoi/Kobus & Associates focused on the Boston-set movie Ted to bring the fight against hunger home. Their cans will feed the local community with a total of 1,488 cans.

canstruction bsa space

Can you spot Mickey and his mop? Symmes Maini & McKee Associates chose neutral bean cans for the background of their Sorcerer’s Apprentice structure. They used black beans for the Apprentice’s shadow, Bush’s baked beans for the mop, and tuna for the metallic detailing on the bucket handles.

canstruction bsa space

Sharknado kept the movie scene interesting this summer, but SharkCANado: Take a Bite out of Hunger by Levi + Wong Design Associates makes the connection between coastal natural disasters and the work food banks have to do. The SharkCANnado is actually a tuna tornado, made entirely of different brands of tuna swirled with blood-red tomato cans.

canstruction bsa space

With 3,950 cans from chickpeas to Chef Boyardee to three different kinds of beans, Shepley Bulfinch captured Scrat from Ice Age frozen in ice, to draw attention to those who struggle for the food they need.

canstruction bsa space

Integrated Design Group sends Boston Greetings from Paradise Falls with a hot air ballon replica a la Up.

canstruction bsa space

Hoping for A Whole New World Without Hunger, Architectural Resources Cambridge hopes to translate the story of Aladdin, an impoverished youth, to the stories of hundreds of impoverished families in the Boston area who can survive off of these cans.

canstruction bsa space

No longer “Hungry are we,” but Fight Hunger WE CAN, says TRO Jung|Brannen. This team built a giant Yoda out of 2,191 cans of cannellini beans, sweet peas, and lentil soup.

canstruction bsa space

Reeling in Hunger by Simpson Gumpertz & Heger transforms the ultimate cinematic icon into a dimensionally accurate can-replica.

canstruction bsa space

Comprised wholly of cans and plywood, A Reel Meal by Cube 3 Studio created a full meal with their tomato, tomato paste, bean, corn, and potato cans, which could be combined into a hearty stew.

canstruction bsa space

A bust of King Kong sits beside the Empire State building thanks to EYP Architecture & Engineering. On an “epic journey to destroy hunger,” as the team states it, this statue, made of 5,412 cans, stands at the top of the exhibit’s food chain.

canstruction bsa space

The Grinch isn’t so mean this Christmas. Margulies Perruzzi Architects brings the infamous cartoon character into a brighter light with their hearty and well-rounded sculpture made of ravioli, beans, corn, chicken broth, and tomato sauce.

canstruction bsa space

Monsters Food Bank; Keeping Monsters Full of Cans, Not Kids, captures the main characters of the animated movie, Monsters Inc. Timely, since Monster’s University just screamed into theaters this past summer. Designed by CBT Architects.

canstruction bsa space

Who’s to say what the future of fighting hunger could hold with events like “Canstruction” taking place? Payette Associates’s Flux Canpacitor offers us a glimpse…and some condiments.

Canstruction will be on view (free and open to the public) until November 1 at the BSA Space, 290 Congress St. For more info, visit bsaspace.org.

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