LIVINGSTON, N.J. – The New Jersey Chapter of the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA-NJ) Newark and Suburban section today announced that Canstruction, its annual design exhibition to benefit local food bank programs, will be held on Nov. 14 and 15 at the Livingston Mall in Livingston, N.J.

The unique food charity program is part of a national AIA-sponsored event that calls upon teams of architects, engineers, contractors and designers, as well as college design students, to design and build giant-sized structures made entirely from canned food.

After an eight-hour “Build Day” on Nov. 14, a distinguished guest panel will judge the structures on Nov. 15 at an awards gala.After winners are declared, the creations will remain on view to the general public as art exhibits.

Titled “NJ Shore CAN Rebuild – Coastal NJ Architecture,” this year’s competition encourages teams to creatively interpret and draw inspiration from New Jersey’s coastal and shore manmade and natural structures, including buildings and infrastructures.

“With New Jersey communities still recovering from the devastating impact of Superstorm Sandy, the need for community food bank support is greater than ever,” said Jack Purvis, president of AIA-NJ. “This event is one way for architects and design professionals to showcase talent, have fun and give back to communities in need in a significant way.”

Participating firms are responsible for obtaining the cans used in their structures. This involves soliciting donations from food manufacturers, supermarkets, clients, family and friends. There are still openings for creative design and building industry firms to sign up a team, and volunteers are welcome to pitch in. 

“Event organizers and the registered teams are seeking support and donations for this fall’s 2013 Canstruction,” said Ronald Weston, AIA, LEED AP, who is serving as chair of the event. “Everyone CAN help make this event a success!”

At the conclusion of the exhibition, the cans are donated to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey (CFBNJ) for distribution to community food programs. CFBNJ distributes 40 million pounds of food and groceries each year, ultimately serving more than 1,500 nonprofit programs, including 436 programs served by its partner distribution organizations. The combined efforts of these nonprofit programs assist more than 900,000 people in 18 New Jersey counties.

This will be the 15th year for the design competition in New Jersey. Last year, New Jersey teams comprised of architects, designers and engineers used and donated over 25,100 pounds of food to build structures based on intricate designs that were conceptualized in advance.

For the third consecutive year, Simon Property Group® has generously made available its Livingston Mall as the host venue for the event.Goya Foodshas also signed on again to donate canned goods to support a selected team entered in the event.

Since the founding of Canstruction, over 21 million pounds of food have been donated to community food banks to aid in the fight against hunger.

For more information on how to become a sponsor, competitor, donor or volunteer, contact Ronald Weston, AIA, at rweston@westonarchitecture.com. Deadline for entry is Sept. 20.

About AIA and AIA New Jersey

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is the professional organization that helps architects serve the public’s needs and builds awareness of the role of architects and architecture in American society. The organization, which was founded in 1857, recently celebrated its 150th anniversary. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., its 300 plus local chapters represent 86,000 licensed architects and associated professionals. AIA New Jersey, based in Trenton, is the local chapter of AIA. In 2000, it celebrated its 100th anniversary. AIA New Jersey has about 2,000 members in six regional sections. For more information, please visit www.aia-nj.org.

About Canstruction, Inc.

Canstruction, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that coordinates annual design and build competitions in a way that combines the creative thinking of the design and construction industry with a community service initiative. This international community service project bases its service on the construction of structures made entirely out of canned food, raising awareness about hunger to show how “one CAN make a difference.” Canstruction is trademarked by the Society for Design Administration (SDA) after being conceived by late founder Cheri Melillo, a member of the SDA. Working in tandem with AIA and other members of the design and construction industry, Canstruction has become one of the largest contributors to food banks in the world. To learn more about Canstruction, visit http://www.canstruction.org.