Canstruction 2018 is in the works!

In the mean time:

Donate to the Greater Chicago Food Depository HERE

- Every $1 donated funds 3 meals -

“Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more”
— H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Canstruction is a unique world wide charity which hosts competitions, exhibitions and events showcasing colossal structures made entirely out of full cans of food.

Canstruction Chicago (under the umbrella of Canstruction) is a design/build event which benefits the Greater Chicago Chicago Food Depository. Teams comprised of professionals from the AEC industry fundraise for, design, and build structures composed of non perishable food items. These “Cansculptures” are housed in the first floor of the Merchandise Mart and are on display to the public as a giant art exhibition. The “Cansculptures” are judged in various categories by a celebrity chef and prominent members of the AEC industry. Canstruction Chicago culminates in an awards presentation and cocktail party at the Merchandise Mart.

We invite you to click here to see photos of last year’s Cansculptures and ChicagoCAN awards reception.

In 2016, Canstruction Chicago collected over 90,000 lbs of non-perishable items for the Food Depository’s network of 650 soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters and programs throughout Cook County. Canstruction Chicago is the Food Depository’s largest one-day food drive that helps to put food on the table for the 1 in 6 men, women and children who turn to the Food Depository annually.


Check out Canstruction Chicago on WCIU's The Jam


A Chicago team has won a Canstruction International award!

The 2016 team composed of Valerio Dewalt Train Associates, Vornado and the Merchandise Mart has won a Canstruction International award!  “The Mart Grand Stair” was built with 16,000 cans of food and stands 10′ H x 10′ L x 10′ W. This Chicago team won for using the most cans in their structure which provided over 15,000 pounds of food to feed the hungry.

Photos of all eight recipients of International Canstruction awards can be seen here:

Other award winning cities include Toronto, Hong Kong, Minneapolis, New York, Torrance CA and Irvine CA.

Press release can be found here:


check back in january for the 2018 schedule!


2017 Sponsorship

Benefiting the Greater Chicago Food Depository | August 10 – September 5, 2017

We are actively seeking 2017 sponsors. If you are interested, or would like more information, please let us know. For starters, check out the 2017 Canstruction Sponsorship Packet HERE. For Additional information, please contact:

  • Paul Le BeauFund Development, Greater Chicago Food Depository, (773) 843-7777,
  • Kelsey KirkleyCanstruction Chicago Chair, AIA Chicago, (312) 376-2760,







Each year, the efforts of our teams are highlighted at ChicagoCAN,  our charity cocktail and awards reception. This year’s event will be held in the South Lobby of the Merchandise Mart on Thursday, August 17, 5:30-8pm. Awards start at 6pm upstairs in the new Marshall's Landing restaurant. All are welcome!

Teams competing have the opportunity to take home an award in any of this year’s seven categories:

Best Use of Labels

Best Meal: The food items used in the structure could create a tasty meal.

Structural Ingenuity: Pushes the limits of gravity and physics to turn a basic can of food into a structure that makes you say, “WOW, how did they do that?”

Honorable Mention: A runner-up for any of the previous categories or a structure that may not fit in any of these categories, but should be recognized

Most Cans Used

Judges Favorite: No rhyme or reason, this one is quite simply the judges favorite structure. Check back soon for a list of the 2016 judging panel.

People’s Choice: Check back after August 7 for voting information.

IMG_8578 (683x1024) (2).jpg


  • Kelsey Kirkley, Chair, AIA Chicago
  • Katie Miller, Co-Chair, IA Interior Architects
  • Ali Siddique, IA Interior Architects
  • Emma Wilkinson, IA Interior Architects
  • Erik Graves, GCFD
  • Jessica Ou, GCFD
  • Jessica Neff, RTM Associates
  • Kevin Metz, Burson-Marsteller
  • Steve Carroll, Sensory Technologies
  • Matt Dvorak, Primera Engineers
  • Paul Le Beau, GCFD
  • Sarah Wood, RATIO Architects


The Greater Chicago Food Depository, Chicago’s food bank, is a nonprofit food distribution and training center providing food for hungry people while striving to end hunger in our community. The Food Depository, founded in 1979, makes a daily impact across Cook County with a network of 700 pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, mobile programs, children’s programs, older adult programs, and innovative responses which address the root causes of hunger. Last year, the Food Depository distributed 66 million pounds of shelf-stable food, fresh produce, dairy products and meat, the equivalent of 150,000 meals every day. For more information, visit or call 773-247-FOOD.

The American Institute of Architects Chicago (AIA Chicago) is the largest chapter of licensed architects, architectural interns, and allied professionals within AIA Illinois, and the second largest AIA chapter in the country. AIA Chicago offers lectures and continuing education courses; numerous award programs; specialized, issue-specific Knowledge Communities; advocacy for architects; daily communications online and through its in-house magazine, Chicago Architect; and help for consumers looking for an architect. As a resource for its members in service to society, AIA Chicago promotes positive change through the power of design. For more information, visit

Questions? Email us at

Canstruction, Inc. is an international non profit organization headquartered in Atlanta, GA. Visit the Corporate website at

Canstruction was founded in 1992 by the late Cheri Melillo and her colleagues from the Society for Design Administration (SDA). Melillo was first inspired by the notion of Canstruction through trial competitions held in SDA offices in Denver, CO and Seattle, WA. Cheri created a Canstruction New York City chapter and held the first official Canstruction Competition in New York City on November 13, 1993.

Canstruction® has grown from a New York-based competition to an international competition involving the entire design and construction industry in over 150 cities across the world. Every local winner goes on to compete, internationally via digital photography. Official award categories include: Honorable Mention, Juror’s Favorite, Best Meal, Peoples Choice, Best Use of Labels and Structural Integrity. Recognized for our commitment to innovation, hunger reliefand collaboration, our work has helped raise over 21 million pounds of food since 1992 and continues to impact communities across the world.

Our Mission:  To feed and inspire the world – one can at a time.

Visit the Canstruction, Inc. Corporate website at for more information.

ChicagoCAN Charity Cocktail + Awards Reception

Thank you to everyone who attended this year's 2017 event! Special thanks to our food and beverage sponsors:

Marshall's Landing Restaurant

Kinzie Chophouse

Gotham Greens

Lagunitas Brewing Company

Hart Davis Hart Wine Co.

Beam Suntory

and to Brizo and Delta for sponsoring the photo booth

Until next year, you can make a donation to the Greater Chicago Food Depository HERE


voting for the 2017 event is closed. check back in august for next year's vote.