Canstruction Moves Giant Canned Sculptures into Kāhala Mall This October

Donate canned goods and vote on this year’s canned food structures for a good cause.
Can donation art
Photos from earlier years of Construction at Pearlridge Center.
Photos: Courtesy of Hawai‘i Foodbank/AIA Honolulu


Combine architectural design, style and thousands of cans of food to create the recipe for an annual event that helps provide meals and spread awareness through the Hawai‘i Foodbank.


Over the past 13 years, the event—which involves teams of architects building structures to fit a theme—brought in 394,805 pounds of canned food, enough for 310,870 meals. “We do it by pounds. A can of sardines vs. a big can of chili are very different,” says the Foodbank’s Beverly Santos.


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Can donation art


In partnering with the Honolulu members of the American Institute of Architects, the Foodbank benefits by donation of identical cans of specific high-demand items: tuna, meats, chicken. Since most of us don’t calculate our consumption by the pound, Santos explains that last year’s total of 17,763 pounds of food translated to about 14,000 meals, a number that is just a small slice of the organization’s overall impact.


Last year, the Hawai‘i Foodbank distributed more than 12.5 million pounds of food from warehouses on O‘ahu and Kaua‘i. Of that, 3 million pounds consisted of fresh produce. The majority of the Foodbank’s donations come from major retailers such as Safeway or Costco as well as manufacturers, growers and larger farms who make the largest contributions.


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Can donation art


However, Santos says that food drives spread awareness. “There’s a different level of investment when you donate something rather than writing a check. We’ve heard countless stories of how a box of food helped people stay in their homes because they’re able to pay their rent,” she says.


For Reid Mizue of AIA Honolulu, the community service project is a great fit because it allows the architects a chance to use “our skill and leadership to design and build giant structures of full cans of food as a competition.”


This year’s four participating teams are encouraged to celebrate what makes Hawai‘i unique with a theme representing today’s local style, history and what the aloha spirit means.


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Can donation art


Architecture firm and allied design partners competing this year are HDR, G70 and Layton Construction, Bowers + Kubota and Coffman Engineers.


The structures will be on display and people are asked to donate canned foods—one can, one vote— each time they vote from Oct. 5 to 12. The one that receives the most votes will be named People’s Choice Award winner.


Kāhala Mall, 4211 Wai‘alae Ave.


Read more stories by Robbie Dingeman