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A Canned Approach to Fighting Hunger
Posted by MSC on August 5, 2008 at 3:27 PM.

This June, the Merchandise Mart Apparel Center in downtown Chicago was transformed into a sculpture gallery. The works, made entirely from canned food, were built for the 2008 Chicago Canstruction Competition, part of a national event that combines the competitive spirit of a design-build contest with a unique opportunity to make a difference in the fight against hunger. Over the course of three months, 20 competing teams, led mainly by architects and engineers, designed and assembled remarkable structures made entirely out of canned foods, each within a 10-ft x 10-ft space, up to 8 ft high.


AISC was one of the 20 teams that participated. Its Can-structure, the Stay-Stuft Marshmallow Man, was inspired by the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters. The sculpture, which has the Stay-Stuft man walking down a city street, knocking over skyscrapers, consisted of 3,680 canned food items: mostly tuna cans but also cans of baked beans, tomato products, potatoes, mushrooms, peas, and sardines. Several AISC employees were involved in the conceptualization, design, and construction of the nutritious sculpture.


Stay-Stuft and the other sculptures were on display for two weeks in the Apparel Center, just in time for the 2008 Neocon World’s Trade Fair, held at the adjacent Merchandise Mart. Several awards were given, and AISC’s marshmallowy creation took home the People’s Choice Award, which was determined by exhibition spectators voting for their favorite structure.


At the close of the exhibition, the 2008 Chicago Canstruction event donated the 80,000 lb of canned foods used in the Can-structures to the Greater Chicago Food Depository. This is the equivalent of about 68,000 meals for the hungry.

AISC’s Stay-Stuft Man would not have been possible without financial sponsors Stites & Harbison, Triple-S Steel Supply, W&W/AFCO Steel, and Peddinghaus Corporation.

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