Cincinnati Canstruction 2016: Design Trends & Strategies

K4 Architecture has participated in the 19th Annual Cincinnati Canstruction Competition! This year, the Cincinnati Canstruction participants have donated 79,863 cans to the Freestore Foodbank, benefitting those who live in our neighborhoods. These Canstructures are pieces of art that bring awareness to the issue of hunger in our community in a creative way. This is the last week to see the structures, so I wanted to share some Canstruction trends and design strategies I’ve noticed throughout K4’s involvement in this competition.

1 - Drone Away Hunger

Pop Culture Icons

What could be more fun than seeing your favorite cartoon character as a 10’x10’x10’ structure made out of can goods? Many canstructures are designed to replicate popular icons, board games, videogame character, cartoons, or desserts!  This is a fun way to bring these familiar favorites to life.

2 - Pop Icons
Ice Cream, Image Source
Tetris, Image Source Hello Kitty, Image Source

Can Pointillism

The pointillism technique of painting utilizes distinct dots of color applied in a pattern to form an image.  In a similar way, the can is strategically placed to express a larger image. As designers, we tend to have great attention to detail. Creating a visual impact through the choice of labels and their specific placement hones into that strength. These structures tend to be the winner of the Best Use of Labels category.

3 - Can Pointillism
Marilyn Monroe, Image Source Emoticons, Image Source Cardinals, Image Source

Structural Skill

As architects and builders, we are always up for the challenge of exploring complex shapes and utilizing our knowledge of structural stability.  In my experience, the most difficult structures to build are those that balance on a small area of bearing, tilt or create a circular shape.  In curved structures, cans need adequate support to follow the shape of the curve and keep from falling.  These structures exemplify Structural Ingenuity, but don’t stand too close!

4 - Structural Skill
Mushrooms, Image Source Ellipse, Image Source Apple Core, Image Source

Hometown Favorites

Structures that fall under this category hold a special place in the hearts of the community. It’s fitting to display love for the city in a canstructure that will in turn provide a meal to a local family. Here are some of Cincinnati’s favorites.

5 - Hometown Favorites
Mr. Red, Image Source Flying Pig, Image Source

Famous Structures

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Charles Caleb Colton.  Many canstructures are modeled after famous buildings and well known works of art.  Below you will find Jeff Koons’ Orange Balloon Dog, the Arc De Triomphe, and Robert Indiana’s LOVE sculpture… or at least the can version.

6 - Famous Structures
Balloon Animal, Image Source Arc De Triomphe, Image Source LOVE, Image Source

The Meaning Behind the Canstructure

K4 has been involved with Canstruction for the past few years. Our philosophy is to create a design that can fit into each of the categories (Best Use of Labels, Best Meal, Structural Ingenuity, Juror’s Favorite) and also remind the viewer of the reason behind the structure. We have built Giving What We CAN, Fighting Hunger: One Forkful at a Time, and Drone Away Hunger. All three of these canstructures speak to the “why” of the canstruction competition. Canstruction benefits the families of the greater Cincinnati area who, through the works of this charity, have food on their tables. While being unique and challenging, we hope our structure reminds you to donate to the Freestore Foodbank and be mindful of those in our neighborhoods who are hungry.

Which trend do our canstructures follow? You decide.

7 - K4 Canstructures
K4 Canstruction Entries: Giving What We CAN, Fighting Hunger: One Forkful at a Time, Drone Away Hunger *Last photo by Mark Burgess of Corporate Photo Group

Watch our Build Day 2016 video below!