31st Annual NYC Design and Build Competition

To Benefit City Harvest

Our annual design competition challenges teams of architects, engineers, and contractors to build sculptures made entirely out of canned food. The sculptures are placed on display at the start of the holiday giving season, at Brookfield Place in lower Manhattan. All canned food is later donated to City Harvest to help provide families with a holiday meal.

Established in 1992 by the late Cheri Melillo and SDA New York, CANstruction, Inc. emerged from Cheri’s inspiration drawn from trial competitions in Denver, CO, and Seattle, WA. Cheri, fostering her vision, founded a CANstruction chapter in New York. Originally conceived to unite the design, engineering, and construction industry in a delightful way, it aimed to address hunger by providing canned food to relief organizations. Decades later, CANstruction stands as a testament to Cheri’s enduring vision and the collective commitment to combat hunger through innovative collaboration.

You may also donate to CANstruction below. Your donation supports CANstruction’s programs and exhibitions which raise millions of pounds of food each year for local hunger relief organizations.

Congratulations to the 2023 winners!

The 28 teams who competed in the 2023 competition include:

AKF, Arcadis, Arup, Beyer Blinder Belle, BluEdge, Burns & McDonnell, DeSimone Consulting Engineers, EP Engineering, Fairstead, Gannett Fleming Engineers & Architects, Gensler, Gilsanz Murray Steficek, LLP, HITT Contracting, HLW, HOK, KPFF Consulting Engineers, LERA Consulting Structural Engineers, McNamara Salvia, NV5, NYC Department of Buildings, PCP Architecture, Perkins Eastman, Severud Associates, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, Stantec, Thornton Tomasetti, Urbahn Architects PLLC, Urban Architectural Initiatives (UAI), and WSP USA.

All photography above was captured by Sunny Norton.

On November 6th, 2023, a distinguished panel of judges selected winners from 28 creative CANstruction sculptures within the following categories: Best Original Design, Best Use of Labels, Structural Ingenuity, Best Meal, Most Cans and 2 honorable mentions.

The jurors included Chris Grabenstein, award-winning #1 NYT bestselling author; Jesse Lazar, Executive Director of the AIA New York Chapter; Ryan O’Connor, CEO of Clinton Management; Maneesh Goyal of SONA; Josh Cohen, Partner for Midnight Theatre & Hidden Leaf at Manhattan West; Max Tucci, author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller, Muse Creative Award-winning cookbook “The Delmonico Way.”

Cheri C. Melillo Honorary Award: CARbie by Beyer Blinder Belle
Amy Nanni Whimsical Award: Towering Above Hunger by LERA Consulting Structural Engineers
Most Cans & Structural Ingenuity: KowaHUNGA by Gensler
Best Meal: 50th CANiversary of Hip Hop by WSP USA
Best Use of Labels: A CANtastic Sendoff for the Metro Card by Arup
Best Original Design: This City Has Gone to the Birds by DeSimone Consulting Engineers
Honorable Mention #1: CAN-Sen-ji Temple by Simpson Gumpertz and Heger
Honorable Mention #2: Love Story (Canstruction’s Version) by Fairstead

Gilsanz Murray Steficek Architects
Thornton Tomasetti


DeSimone Consulting Engineers


All photography below was captured by Niall Cronin.

CANstruction New York’s History

Now in its 32nd year of fighting food insecurity, the CANstruction NY competition and exhibition brings together teams of talented architects, engineers, and contractors for one important challenge: to get creative and build 8-foot high x 8-foot wide x 8-foot tall sculptures made entirely out of unopened cans of food. The large-scale sculptures are built and displayed at Brookfield Place (BFPL) in Lower Manhattan before being deconstructed and donated to City Harvest, New York City’s first and largest food rescue organization. Each year, the event results in the largest annual single donation of canned food to City Harvest, and this year’s donations will help reach the organization’s goal of rescuing and delivering more than 77 million pounds of food to soup kitchens and food pantries across New York City.

CANstruction Highlights

Thursday, October 26, 2023
In this special episode highlighting the 31st Annual CANstruction New York Design and Build Competition, Christian sits down with four leaders behind the incredible cause, including Jennifer Greene, Director of Marketing at Ronnette Riley Architect, Elysa Marden, Senior Vice President of Arts and Events for Brookfield Properties, Jenna Harris, City Harvest’s Associate Director as well as Jessica Sheridan, Principal at Mancini Duffy.

Contact Us

All inquiries can be redirected to the Canstruction NY team here.

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