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Architects Prep For Pearlridge Contest To Benefit Food Bank

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Honolulu Chapter will present its annual Canstruction competition Oct. 12 at Pearlridge Center’s Uptown Center Court as a benefit for Hawaii Foodbank.

Now in its eighth year, the competition aims toward a big goal – to build a world without hunger – and it all starts in our community. This fits perfectly with the 2013 theme, “CANstruction Wonders of the World.”

The contest fields of 13 teams vying for the public’s vote. The teams include local architects, builders and allied design and engineering professionals including ADM Retail Planning & Architecture; Bower + Kubota; Coffman Engineers; Ferraro Choi & Associates and WSP Group (joint team); Group 70 International and Swinerton Builders (joint team); Hawaiian Dredging Construction Company; HDR Inc.; Johnson Controls Inc.; Nordic PCL Construction and INK Architects; Richard Matsunaga & Associates, Architects, Inc.; RIM Architects; SSFM International; and WATG.

Each team will “canstruct” giant structures made entirely of canned foods from 9 a.m. to about 1 p.m. Oct. 12. According to this year’s co-chairman Reid Mizue of OMIZU Architecture Inc., each structure is comprised of anywhere from 1,500 to 4,000 cans of food.

Aside from the benefit it provides for Hawaii Foodbank, Canstruction allows members of these companies to work together for a common good. In some companies, the office staff doesn’t work directly with the engineers, but with a project like Canstruction, they come together as a team.

New to the competition this year is Nordic PCL Construction, which has partnered with INK Architects.

“We’re excited, and hopefully we’ll be back next year and in future years,” said Minette Lew-McCabe, marketing and communication specialist for Nordic PCL Construction.

Last year’s event amassed about 43,000 pounds of food, and Mizue and co-chairman Mark Tawara are looking forward to similar results this year. Since its Hawaii beginnings in 2006, Canstruction has gathered nearly 250,000 pounds of canned food.

The event chairmen encourage the public to head down to watch the actual building as it happens, and for those with keiki, the Kids Can Corner is open from 10 a.m. to noon. Keiki ages 5 to 12 will be able to build special structures with thousands of cans of their own. Families should bring at least five cans of food as a donation to join in the fun.

Once the canstructions are complete, they will remain on display for two weeks, and during this time the public is invited to “vote” for their favorite by dropping canned foods into shopping carts next to each structure. One can of food equals one vote.

“This is how we count our people’s choice award,” Mizue explained, also noting that only cans count for votes. Other categories are honorable mention, structural ingenuity and best in show.

“In my opinion, being on teams and as a team captain and now on the planning side, (I see that) the winning design is usually a canstructure that is iconic, simple and elegant,” he noted. “People often look at it and wonder, ‘How is that standing?'”

The “decanstruction” is set for Oct. 27, after which the donations will go to Hawaii Foodbank.

For more information, visit AIAHonolulu.org.