‘Force’ was with Cranston-led Canstruction team

Posted 4/28/16

A Cranston-led team of architects, engineers and contractors earned the Canstruction Rhode Island “Best Meal” award for its canned food sculpture of R2-D2 and BB-8 from “Star Wars: The Force …

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‘Force’ was with Cranston-led Canstruction team


A Cranston-led team of architects, engineers and contractors earned the Canstruction Rhode Island “Best Meal” award for its canned food sculpture of R2-D2 and BB-8 from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” during the late-March competitive sculpture exhibit at Providence Place.

Cranston, Johnston, and Warwick residents assisted in building most of the other five sculptures from full cans of food to benefit the Rhode Island Community Food Bank (rifoodbank.org). The sculptures, viewed by thousands since March 12, also depicted Dory from “Finding Nemo” and the upcoming “Finding Dory,” and Left Shark from the 2015 Super Bowl Half-Time Show along with a “taste” of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, a magic lunchbox, and a tribute to the Ocean State.

All six sculptures were carefully disassembled recently, and transported to the Food Bank where the cans of food weighed in at 29,514 pounds. They now are being distributed to Rhode Islanders in need of food assistance. Each month, the Food Bank serves 60,000 people through a network of 167 agencies such as food pantries, shelters, youth programs and senior centers.

“We are so delighted to once again be involved in Canstruction RI,” Rhode Island Community Food Bank CEO Andrew Schiff said. “This event raises awareness of hunger in the state and this year helped stock our shelves with close to 30,000 pounds of food. We appreciate all of the hard work and dedication that goes into these incredible sculptures.”

It was the sixth time in as many biennial Canstruction RI competitions that Cranston-based Saccoccio Architects along with DiPrete Engineering (fourth time) and general contractor H.V. Collins (first time) received an award. Each award enabled them to enter the international Canstruction (canstruction.org) competition.

Canstruction is a national food charity of the design and construction industry that has helped raise nearly 40 million pounds of food throughout the United States and many other countries since 1992.

Photos of local juried award-winning sculptures are submitted in the same categories in the international competition. In addition to Best Meal, the juried award categories are Best Use of Labels, Structural Ingenuity, Jurors’ Favorite and Honorable Mention. Cranston resident and chief executive officer of Rhode Island Public Radio Torey Malatia was among the six independent jurors of the R.I. competition. Viewers of the exhibit and/or photos posted on the Rhode Island Community Food Bank website voted for an R.I.-only People’s Choice award.

The sculptors of the canstructed R2-D2 and BB-8 created a storyline suggesting that the robots could help humans make healthy food choices and, with access to their databases, recommend a healthy eating plan. The team’s menu highlighted the protein, B vitamins and omega 3s packed in cans of tuna, salmon and poultry; vegetables and whole grains in cans of soup; and minerals, naturally occurring oils, antioxidants and fiber of whole-grain rice that rounded out its “Best Meal.” Among the judges’ comments: “I would eat this.” “Lots of protein” and “high-end canned foods.” Also noted was that each key element of the sculpture “really looks like a robot.”

Awards for Jurors’ Favorite and Best Use of Labels went to a team on which both Cranston and Warwick residents served. The sculpture “Turning the Tides on Hunger” by employees of Durkee, Brown, Viveiros & Werenfels Architects; Odeh Engineers; Parker Construction Co.; and Herrick & White Architectural Woodworkers celebrated the Ocean State’s efforts to wipe out the problem of food insufficiency. Their 10-by-10-by-10-foot scene depicted a sailboat, clearly displaying the number 34 through precisely turned cans on its curved sail to honor 34 years of Rhode Island Community Food Bank service. Other outstanding features the judges cited were “the lighthouse and clouds on the back wall” as examples of the fine details the team created with the sole use of labels to achieve immediately recognizable imagery. The judges also liked the use of color and the use empty space.

Cranston and Warwick residents as well as a Johnston resident participated in building another sculpture that garnered two awards: Structural Ingenuity and People’s Choice. “Left Shark Dances Out Hunger” represented the sixth time that an LLB Architects-Shawmut Design and Construction team had participated in Canstruction RI. Prominent elements in this 1,000 cubic-foot sculpted scene were the shark “dancing” upright on its tail, a nearby beachball, a very tall palm tree with potato-chip-bag fronds “swaying” from the top of its canned food trunk, and goal posts in the football field’s background. Jurors were impressed that “though ‘leaning’,” the shark “remained balanced” and thereby “demonstrated movement.”

Cranston and Warwick residents helped create two of the three other sculptures. “The Magic Lunchbox,” produced by a team from Dimeo Construction (fifth-time participants) and Edward Rowse Architects (first time), won Honorable Mention. According to one juror, “Out of all of the exhibits, this one really captured the theme of [fighting] hunger.” The open lunchbox, “big enough to feed a whole school,” revealed a giant thermos with a ladle extending to its cup filled with “soup.” In front of the lunchbox were a huge orange, sandwich and carton of milk, clearly lettered as M-I-L-K. through the positioning of can labels.

A Warwick resident helped model a large fish called Dory and an octopus. The sculpture, titled “Just Keep Giving, Just Keep Giving,” was the work of employees of Gilbane Building Co., a sixth-time participant, and Brewster Thornton Group Architects (first time).

The Construction Leadership Council of the R.I. chapter of Associated General Contractors created the sixth sculpture, a giant cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee along with an order of doughnuts, on which the team theorized the Food Bank “runs.” The CLC, also a sixth-time participant, is a networking and community service group of early- and mid-career professionals employed by various general contractor members of the RIAGC.

Cranston-based Taco Inc. is one of the event’s perennial sponsors.

“It’s gratifying to see the strong commitment that our sponsors and volunteers have to assisting the Food Bank with our Canstruction RI events,” said committee co-chair R. Drayton Fair, AIA, ALA, LEED AP, a partner at LLB Architects, Pawtucket, and who as an AIA-ri past-president started Canstruction Rhode Island in 2007. “Many of our sponsors have participated multiple times. They all are vitally essential to the success of the exhibit, and we are very grateful for their generous support.”

Canstruction is sponsored nationally by the Society for Design Administration, and each biennial Canstruction Rhode Island event is sponsored and organized locally by R.I. chapters of the American Institute of Architects (AIA-ri) and Associated General Contractors (RIAGC). Besides Taco, the many private companies sponsoring this year’s event include: Kasabian Construction, Providence; Andersen Windows & Doors, Bayport, Minn.; Pace Representatives, Braintree, Mass.; and Maloney & Co., Guilford, Conn. In-kind donors include General Growth Properties, Providence; Gasbarro’s Fine Wines, Providence; Rhode Island Rentals, Warwick; Inkwell Communications, Providence; and The Color Company, Providence. In addition, each team relies on many other sponsors to fund the purchase of the cans of food.


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