open house for interested teams is tuesday, march 20, 2018!



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 (GCFD). 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 previous years' Canstruction Build Nights and ChicagoCAN awards reception.

In 2017, Canstruction Chicago collected over 120,797 lbs of non-perishable items for the GCFD’s network of 700 soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters, and programs throughout Cook County. This will provide 100,664 meals for the 1 in 6 men, women and children whom the GCFD serve annually. Canstruction Chicago is the GCFD’s largest one-day food drive event of the year.


TWO Chicago teams have won a Canstruction International Award!

The 2017 Team of FitzGerald, Eriksson Engineering Associates, Power Construction, and ECS Midwest won First Place in the Best Use of Labels Category for their CanSculpture entitled "Standing Together Against Hunger."

The 2017 of theMart and VDTA won Third Place for Most Cans Used for their CanSculpture entitled "Leave Hunger Out in the Cold."

Congratulations to both Teams!

See all the International Award Winners Here

Press release can be found here:

Check out Canstruction Chicago 2017 on WCIU's The Jam


2018 Sponsorship

Benefiting the Greater Chicago Food Depository | August 15 – September 9, 2018

We are actively seeking 2018 sponsors. If you are interested, or would like more information, please let us know. For starters, check out the 2017 Canstruction Sponsorship Packet HERE. (2018 will be available soon) 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. The 2018 event will be held in the South Lobby of the Merchandise Mart on Thursday, August 23, 5:30-8pm. Awards start at 6pm. All are welcome!

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

Best Original Design Award for the most creative and well-executed design

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?”

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

Most Cans Used The award for the biggest donation to the GCFD

Best Use of Labels Clever and artistic use of the labels' color and design.

People’s Choice: Determined by you, the people! Vote online here starting August 16, 2018.

IMG_8578 (683x1024) (2).jpg


  • Matt Dvorak, Co-Chair, Primera Engineers
  • Katie Miller, Co-Chair, IA Interior Architects
  • Steve Carroll
  • Erik Graves, GCFD
  • Nikki Jeffers, SmithgroupJJR
  • Kelsey Kirkley, AIA Chicago
  • Jessica Ou, GCFD
  • Paul Le Beau, GCFD
  • Kevin Metz
  • Brandi Morlen, Newell Brands
  • Pam O'Deen, Lenex Steel
  • Kristin Pabst, theMart
  • Brian Wesolowski, GHA Engineers
  • Myra Zeyzus, Newell Brands


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


check back in august for THE 2018 vote.