On Friday, November 2nd, SOM's New York office and 29 other teams took part in Canstruction 2018. This is the 26th year of the charitable annual build-off, which brings together architects, engineers, contractors, and students to design and build large structures using unopened cans of food. Following the event, the cans are donated to City Harvest for distribution to those in need.
With 7,150 cans, SOM's team designed and built a sculpture titled "Interweave." The submission is a statement on the fact that, despite an overabundance of food in the modern world, approximately one in nine people do not have enough food to lead healthy lives. The two structural halves of "Interweave" represent a dichotomy whose balance is precarious and delicate: an outer ring with an open weave represents emptiness and the need for food security; a second tower stands as a strong foundation at the sculpture's core and, as it grows into a tightly woven spire, represents the progress that is possible.
Kelsey Lange, a structural engineering assistant, spearheaded the efforts for SOM. Following the build, Lange reflected on her experience as team leader of approximately 30 volunteers. "Canstruction has given me the opportunity to take ownership over a project while learning and practicing skills—from parametric modeling and laser cutting to team building and project management. These are all extremely useful skills for architects and engineers, yet aren't typically part of my regular project toolkit."
Lange and seven other team members are participants in SOM Year One, a career accelerator program for recent graduates that provides a holistic approach to professional development. The Canstruction event is an example of "SOM Gives Back," a part of the Year One program that focuses on pro-bono design work.
All 30 of this year's Canstruction entries are on view at Brookfield Place in Lower Manhattan through Thursday, November 15th.
November 2 - November 15, 2018
Brookfield Place New York
230 Vesey Street
New York, New York