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Knocking Down Hunger

AISC Wins “People’s Choice Award” in Chicago Charity Competition

June 25, 2008 From American Institute of Steel Construction

The American Institute of Steel Construction won the “People’s Choice Award” in the second annual 2008 Chicago Canstruction Competition held throughout the month of June. The contest was part of a national charity event that combines the competitive spirit of a design-build competition with a unique way to help make a difference in the fight against hunger. Teams of architects and engineers compete to design and build large structures made entirely from cans of food, which are then donated to local food banks. Since its inception, more than 10 million pounds of food have been donated to aid in the fight against hunger.

AISC used 3,680 cans of various food items After a three month planning process, AISC was one of 20 competing teams that designed and assembled extraordinary sculptures made entirely out of canned foods, each within a 10-ft x10-ft space, up to 8 ft high. Led mainly by architects and engineers, the teams gathered on June 4 at the Merchandise Mart Apparel Center in downtown Chicago to build their creations before showcasing the imaginative structures to the public in a Canstruction Exhibition held from June 6 through June 22.

Exhibition spectators chose AISC’s structure, “Stay-Stuft Marshmallow Man,” as their favorite Chicago Can-Struction after it stood strong during a two-week long voting period. Inspired by the "Stay-Puft Marsmallow Man" from the Ghostbusters movies, Stay-Stuft was a six-foot tall recreation of the famous marshmallow giant knocking down city skyscrapers. The nutritious structure was built out of tuna cans, baked beans, tomato products, potatoes, mushrooms, peas, and sardines.

“We’re so honored to have won the ‘People’s Choice Award,’” said Monica Stockmann, Team Captain and an AISC Steel Solutions Center Advisor. “It’s such a wonderful accomplishment because our structure withstood the test of time during the entire Canstruction Exhibition, and we’re so pleased the public considered it to be their favorite structure.”

The Canstruction Exhibition kicked off the 2008 Neocon World’s Trade Fair on June 9-11 at the Merchandise Mart, which brought in over 50,000 design professionals from across the globe. At the close of the Canstruction Exhibition, 80,000-pounds of canned foods used in the Can-structures were given to the Greater Chicago Food Depository, the equivalent of about 68,000 meals for the hungry.

Stockmann commented, “Our team was so enthused to collaborate for an event where we could use our skills and creativity for such a great cause. I’m proud to work at an organization where I can suggest an idea for a community involvement project, and the whole staff rallies behind the effort to make that idea into a reality.”

The AISC Construction team prepared, organized, and practiced building the majority of Stay-Stuft before assembling the structure on the evening of the competition, Build Night, using a process similar to that of building a structural steel model. On Build Night, the AISC Canstruction team erected Stay-Stuft in less than four hours. The structural integrity of Stay-Stuft remained in tact during the entire three weeks of the CanStruction Exhibition.

In addition to AISC winning the “People’s Choice Award,” a panel of local celebrity judges gave out several awards to participating teams during a ceremony after Build Night. Jurors included: Craig Vespa, Stuctural Engineer; Alpana Singh, host of WTTW’s “Check Please”; Billy Dec, President/Partner of Rockit Ranch Productions; John Carroll, President of Modern Luxury, Inc., publishers of CS Magazine (Chicago); Chef Jimmy Bannos, Chef/Owner of Heaven on Seven Restaurants.

AISC’s Stay-Stuft Man was supported by financial sponsors Stites & Harbison, Triple-S Steel Supply, W&W/AFCO Steel, and Peddinghaus Corporation.

For more information on the 2008 Chicago Canstruction Competition, please visit www.canstruction.org. A video of the AISC Construction team in action on Build Night is also available at www.youtube.com/watch?v=745Dmjom3_Q. To view images of AISC's "Stay-Stuft Marshmallow Man," please visit www.aisc.org/CanstructionImages.

American Institute of Steel Construction
The American Institute of Steel Construction, headquartered in Chicago, is a not-for-profit technical institute and trade association established in 1921 to serve the structural steel design community and construction industry. AISC’s mission is to make structural steel the material of choice by being the leader in structural steel-related technical and market-building activities, including: specification and code development, research, education, technical assistance, quality certification, standardization, and market development. AISC has a long tradition of service to the steel construction industry of providing timely and reliable information. 

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