Bobbitt Design Build, of Raleigh, N.C. won the Director's Special Award for this sculpture in the latest competition. (Photo by Michael Zirkle)

Architects, engineers and contractors across North America are targeting the problem of hunger in their communities by participating in the Ninth Annual Canstruction Competition, currently under way in 55 cities in the U.S. and Canada until April next year. The competition challenges teams of construction industry professionals and mentored students to build the year's biggest and best sculpture from cans of food they collect from within their communities. After the sculptures are judged, the thousands of cans used to build them are donated to food banks in the participating cities. Last year's competition collected more than one million pounds of food, says Cheri Melillo, spokesperson for Canstruction. "There are more cities this year than in previous years," Melillo says. "The competition started twelve years ago in New York City and became a national event nine years ago."

In some cities, teams of students from grade school to college can compete, provided each team is led by at least one construction industry professional. The teams construct the can sculptures using tape and cardboard, which are then judged on creativity and aesthetics. Competitions take place separately in each city, so deadlines vary in each location. A listing of participating cities, dates and locations of the competitions is available at The event is sponsored by the Society of Design Administration, a New York-based organization of design and architecture industry professionals.