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Buildings made of cans? CANstruction 2012 opens to public next week

What would Pittsburgh landmarks look like if they were made of cans?  At this year’s CANstruction event Heinz Field, a giant ketchup bottle and several other iconic structures will be given the tin treatment and it’s all for a good cause.

CANstruction is a national design competition that asks local groups to create buildings and other fantastical structures out of canned food.  Now in its 20th year, the event is a canned food drive for regional food banks.  This is Pittsburgh’s second year participating in the competition.

This Saturday, eight teams will gather downtown at One Oxford Center for the build-out. Beginning Monday, the Can City will be open for public viewing in the building’s lobby, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.  The structures will remain on display through Friday, September 28th.

The public will have a chance to participate by voting for their favorite structure.  Votes are cast by donating a canned food item, or a reusable tote bag.  The people's choice winner will advance to compete in the national contest.

CANstruction is partnering this year with the Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project, as the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank uses these sturdier bags to distribute food to residents in the region.

On Friday a private gala will be held, with judges awarding winners in categories such as structural integrity; best use of labels; people’s choice; and best meal.

CANstruction organizer Anastasia Herk says the judges will determine a best meal winner by looking at what kinds of canned food the structure is made of and whether it would actually make a nutritious meal.

“The food banks want healthy food,” Herk says. “If a structure is made out of a bunch of SpaghettiOs cans, that might not be as appealing to the judges as something that’s made out of beans and spinach.”

One Oxford Center is located at  301 Grant Street, Downtown. 

CANstruction Pittsburgh is an all-volunteer initiative supported by the Pittsburgh design community.

Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Anastasia Herk
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