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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Winners Named in CANstruction San Diego Design-Build Competition

June 2nd, 2012 by Sumit Singhal

They came in all colors, themes, shapes and sizes, but the winning entries of this year’s CANstruction San Diego competition all had one thing in common: creative ingenuity.

McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. (, RJC Architects (, IBI Group (, Kearny Mesa High Construction Tech Academy, and Crawford High School – IDEA came together to compete in this annual design-build competition, sponsored the Society for Design Administration, an affiliate of the American Institute of Architects.  Each team of 10 was tasked with collecting donations of canned goods, devising a design, and creating huge works of sculptural art made entirely out of canned goods. Close to 50,000 cans of food, weighing approximately 40,000 pounds, were used to create the structures, some as much as eight feet tall and ten feet wide.

Canstruction San Diego 2012

A requirement of the competition was that the sculptures had to be structurally sound and constructed entirely of cans.  Each team had five hours to build the structures, with no more than five team members on the floor at any given time.

“All the teams did a terrific job this year of designing and building some amazing sculptures,” said Julie King, associate and business manager of RJC Architects and this year’s CANstruction chairwoman.  “The most rewarding part of this event for everyone is knowing they’ve made a significant contribution to some important community causes.”

Canstruction San Diego 2012

The canned food structures were on display at Horton Plaza in downtown San Diego for several days, and the public was invited to come view them and makecash or canned food donations of their own.  Following the event, all of the food was donated to Homefront San Diego, an organization that benefits the San Diego military, and East County Transitional Living Center, which helps house the community’s homeless.

Canstruction San Diego 2012

McCarthy was awarded an “Honorable Mention” for its “Road to End Hunger” structure for which cans of Chicken of the Sea salmon were construction cones, spinach was grass, and black beans were asphalt.RJC Architects won in both the “Juror’s Favorite” and “People’s Choice” award categories for its creation of “The Titantic”, which incorporated tuna cans as icebergs, sardine cans as lifeboats, black beans for the smokestack, and water bottles as the ocean.The jurors cited IBI Group’s innovative “Caterpillar”structure with an award for “Structural Ingenuity”, along with an “Honorable Mention”.

Canstruction San Diego 2012

Kearny High Construction Tech Academy received the “Best Meal” award for its construction of “Hunger is No Game”, ” a similarly ambitious structure consisting of more than 4,000 cans in the shape of the popular “Hunger Games” book and the Mockingjay symbol that figures into the plot.  Crawford High School – IDEA received the “Best Use of Labels” award for its striking structure of a waving “American Flag”.

“We’re looking forward to participating again in next year’s CANstruction event, and helping to make it even bigger and better,” said Paul King, director of business development for McCarthy, and board member of CANstruction San Diego.  “Our company employees are already thinking about how they’ll top themselves next year.”

Canstruction San Diego 2012

About McCarthy:

McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. is the nation’s 10th largest domestic general contractor (Engineering News-Record, May 2011) and is one of the nation’s oldest, privately held construction firms.  As the largest general building contractor in California and one of the top green construction firms (ENR California, August 2011), McCarthy is committed to the construction of high performance buildings. The company provides general contracting, construction management, program management and design/build services for healthcare, education, parking structure, entertainment, retail, laboratory, biotechnical, microelectronic, and industrial facilities; office buildings; tenant interiors; mixed-use; multifamily residential and bridges and highways.  In addition to San Diego, McCarthy has offices in Newport Beach, Sacramento and San Francisco, Calif.; Phoenix; Las Vegas; Dallas; Houston; St. Louis; and Atlanta.  McCarthy is 100 percent employee owned.  More information about the company is available online at

Canstruction San Diego 2012

Category: Competitions

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