California icons, such as the LAX Theme Building, California’s State Flag, and the busy Port of LA, were among the winning designs at the Seventh Annual CanstructionLA, the design/build contest where architects, designers, builders, and engineers create structures meant for feeding, not housing.

Featured as part of this year’s Downtown Art Walk, January 10, 2013, in the Farmers and Merchants Bank Building, huge structures made of cans of food were created by some of LA’s’ stellar architecture, engineering, and construction firms. The two-day event  contributed 21,076 pounds of food and $12,034 to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank during the two-day event.

Instead of bricks, they use cans.

Canstruction 2013 Los Angeles, CA. Photgography by Tom Bonner

A jury of architecture, art, and culinary experts judged the structures, naming the Juror’s Favorite, Best Use of Labels, Best Meal, and Structural Ingenuity, as well as an Honorable Mention.  Jurors were: Edward Cella, director of Edward Cella Art & Architecture; Adrian Kudler, editor of Curbed Los Angeles; Michelle Lainez, executive chef at Pete’s Café; Joe Moller, executive director of Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk; and Gwynne Pugh, FAIA, principal of Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio.  The winning structures then compete with other regional winners for the National Canstruction Awards.

Canstruction 2013 Los Angeles, CA. Photgography by Tom Bonner

JURORS’ FAVORITE:  Filling a (Growing) Need by NBBJ and Buro Happold Engineers was a graphically subtle abstraction that won for “its sexy, flowing forms, and high architectural references.”  An undulating landscape of canned kidney beans, potatoes, beets, and mixed vegetables culminated in a graceful tower structure.

BEST MEAL:  The Port of Los CANgeles by RBB Architects acknowledges global trade seen at the San Pedro port with omega oil-rich foods that constitute one of the healthiest diets on the planet.

Canstruction 2013 Los Angeles, CA. Photgography by Tom BonnerBEST USE OF LABELS:  CAN-day Afternoon by Steinberg Architects cleverly brings George Seurat’s famous Pointillist painting to life with vibrant color and texture.

STRUCTURAL INGENUITY:  The LAX EnCANter Restaurant by RBB Architects emphasizes the structural beauty of the famous Theme Building’s graceful arches by cleverly balancing cans of tuna.

Canstruction 2013 Los Angeles, CA. Photgography by Tom Bonner

HONORABLE MENTION:  CANstruction Republic by Clark Construction and Thornton Tomasetti was a three-dimensional rendition of the old California State Flag.

In addition to the juried prizes, a People’s Choice Award was bestowed on the structure that gained the most votes from CanstructionLA visitors.  For $1 per vote, visitors could praise their favorite.

Canstruction 2013 Los Angeles, CA. Photgography by Tom BonnerPEOPLE’S CHOICE:  Avoid Hunger Everywhere by RTKL Associates uses subtle shifts in planes and strategic negative and positive spaces to proclaim the international message “to aVOID hunger”.

The Foodbank is grateful for the design community’’s support,” said Michael Flood, president and CEO of the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.  “This creative architectural display offers something for the local community to enjoy while they help us end hunger here in Los Angeles.”  Los Angeles Regional Food Bank is a nonprofit, charitable organization that has been serving the disadvantaged since 1973, and is at the heart of a charitable food distribution network that includes more than 640 charitable agencies with upwards of 1,000 program sites in Los Angeles County.

Canstruction LA 2013 is organized by the Society for Design Administration, and is presented by Gilmore Associates and Downtown Art Walk.  Platinum sponsors: Brookfield Properties, FedEx, HBC, Herman Miller, LA Downtown News, Milliken & Company, The Resnick Family Foundation, Skanska, and Tom Bonner Photography.  Silver sponsors: National Office Furniture, Spectra Resources Company, and Universal Flooring.  Bronze sponsors: Cabot Cheeses, FASTSIGNS, Jetro Cash & Carry,Sparkletts Water, Sprinkles Cupcakes, and Stacked Wine.

Photos: Tom Bonner