On October 11, 2014, SOM and Clarendon JBBP Elementary School joined forces to compete in the 31st Annual Sandcastle Contest organized by the nonprofit group, Leap Arts in Education. The public, day-long event took place at Ocean Beach and featured giant sand sculptures by more than two dozen teams.
Leap provides arts education for Bay Area schools that are unable to offer it to their students directly. The popular Sandcastle Contest facilitates collaboration between the building industry and local elementary schools, with professionals working with students to envision and construct creative sand sculptures. SOM has regularly participated in the event since its inception.
For several months prior to the event, SOM architects and engineers guided fourth and fifth grade students at Clarendon through the architectural design process while teaching them about the role of architects and contractors. The students also visited SOM’s San Francisco office, where they presented their design concepts and created clay models of the team’s design.
Each team was challenged to create sand sculptures inspired by food for this year's competition. The students from Clarendon, a Japanese bilingual charter school, chose to design their sandcastle after the bento box, a popular lunchtime meal in Japan that features a wide assortment of food. The Japanese word for feast, ごちそう, was incorporated into the sculpture as well.
The impressive handiwork of the "SANDchefs" team was on view at Ocean Beach, site 30. SOM staff joined volunteers from WSP Group and Rudolph and Sletten Construction to help the Clarendon students realize their idea.