Cincinnati Canstruction

Mediaon March 13th, 2014Comments Off on Cincinnati Canstruction

Picture this: an art exhibit made entirely out of more than 60,000 unopened cans of food.

That is the name of the game for the annual Cincinnati Canstrution exhibit. 15 massive structures go on display at various downtown locations in April. “How does it work?” you might ask. Teams of architects, engineers and construction firms put their creativity to the test.

It takes several months of planning. They sketch out their concepts. They identify and buy food items with just the right labels. Sometimes they conduct test runs. Tuesday, April 10, 2018 is “game day” or as we call it, “the build-out.” Teams have just five hours to bring their concepts to life, each in a 10’x10’x8’h space.

Stacks of canned goods and non-perishables quickly turn into impressive pieces of art. Structures over the years have included everything from Kool-Aid Man to The Giving Tree.


The winners of the 21st Annual Cincinnati Canstruction were announced on Thursday, April 12, 2018 during an Awards Gala at the Backstage Event Center. The winners are as follows:

  • Best Original Design: “The Not So Hungry Caterpillar” by HDR
  • Structural Ingenuity: “Blasting Hunger Into Space! 50 Years & Counting” by FRCH
  • Best Use of Labels: “Cincy Wrecks Hunger” by Champlin
  • Best Meal: “Cheers to Fighting Hunger” by HGC and M&A Architects
  • Most Cans: “Cheers to 21 Years” by BHDP and Messer

The 2018 exhibit is on display from April 10 – April 29 at the following locations:

  • The Weston Art Gallery in the Aronoff Center for the Arts
  • The front lobby of Aronoff Center for the Arts
  • The Scripps Center at 312 Walnut Street
  • The Downtown Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County
  • The Center at 600 Vine
  • The Hyatt Regency at 151 West Fifth Street
  • The PNC Center at 250 East Fifth Street

“Strut the Structures” guided-walking tours brought to you by SHP Leading Design are a great (and free) way to see the entire exhibit. Groups meet at 10:00 a.m. at the Weston Art Gallery on:

  • Saturday, April 14
  • Saturday, April 21
  • Saturday, April 28

Just be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes!

Competition is part of the fun. A panel of local judges selects winning displays. Categories include the likes of “Best Meal,” “Best Use of Labels,” and “Most Cans.”

Winners then have the opportunity to compete for international honors. In fact, HDR, Inc. won ‘Best Meal’ for their “Hunger Isn’t Hip” structure in the 2017 Citywide International Competition.

How does the Freestore Foodbank fit into all of this? At the close of the exhibit, all of the canned goods are donated to us. That’s over 817,000 pounds of food donated since 1997!

2018 marks the 21st year for the Cincinnati exhibit. To learn more, please visit