Happy Birthday Canstruction Orlando!

Each year our Canstruction team eagerly awaits the announcement of the theme for the year. At that point, the creative juices can start flowing. This year the theme was a birthday party, as Canstruction Orlando turns 25 years old.

After receiving the message below from Canstruction, our team got started planning.

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Although we wish the reason behind Canstruction Orlando was a non-issue; and while we love the camaraderie and togetherness this event brings in the AEC industry and our community, the heart of our mission is to end hunger.  The purpose of our event is to bring awareness to the ongoing food insecurity in our world, including Central Florida.  In a perfect world, we’ll never have another milestone anniversary.

This year marks the 25th year since the “birth” of this event in Central Florida; that being said, we feel that it’s important to celebrate the wonderful, giving and creative people that make Canstruction Orlando what it is. This year, as we commemorate 25 years of working together to help shine a spotlight on the hunger issue right in our back yard; we’re honoring each person who has contributed in any way, big or small.  We’re celebrating those who have been enlightened or called to action by our event.  We’re acknowledging those who’ve benefited from the love and kindness of strangers who are eager to help.  In the midst of an event that – in a perfect world – wouldn’t need to exist, there IS a lot to celebrate.

It is in that vein we are theming this year’s Canstrution Orlando event as a Birthday Party!

Happy 25th Birthday Canstruction Orlando!


Canstruction Orlando was established in 1993, as an offshoot of Canstruction National which began in 1992. In a recent Orlando Sentinel article, Canstruction Orlando Chair, David Stone said, “We bring architects, engineers, contractors and community groups together to do a giant canned food drive, where we build sculptures out of canned food,” said David Stone, chairperson of construction Orlando. “All of the food that’s donated gets donated in the end to Second Harvest Food Bank, so it goes back into our community and we feed the hungry.”

So with our theme in hand and several meetings later the team voted and chose to pay homage to Jurassic Park, which is also turning 25 this year. However, we decided to add a little birthday twist.

Our Design Statement

Second Harvest Foodbank states that, “1 in 6 Central Floridians struggle with hunger”. With over 8 million people in Central Florida, that translates to nearly 1.3 million of our neighbors who don’t have enough to eat. This lead our team to hatch a plan to bring awareness to this enormous issue via a nostalgic nod to the wildly popular movie, Jurassic Park, that is celebrating a 25th birthday just like Canstruction Orlando.

The mammoth gates that lead into Jurassic Park are akin to the size of the hunger epidemic that plagues our world and our community.  They are substantial like the issue of food insecurity, but not immovable. With great strength from one or many working together the they CAN be moved, just as with help from many we CAN make a dent in the number of people who need help to become food secure.

Additionally, the dinosaur egg hatching at the gates of Jurassic Park symbolizes birth, relating to the celebration of 25 years of amazing volunteers for Canstruction and the movie’s anniversary; however, the deeper meaning behind the hatchling is our hope that we can soon celebrate the birth of a new era, where our community does not struggle with hunger.

Making it come to life

Our structure utilizes a variety of food items to create the iconic gates to Jurassic Park as a backdrop to a hatching dinosaur egg surrounded by foliage. To build this we will use red kidney beans, whole and sliced potatoes, a variety of green beans, baked beans, sauerkraut and potted meat.

The variety of green beans is to provide depth with color differences between the various kinds in the grass and trees. The potatoes and beans are the foundation of our structure, the gargantuan gates, leading into this land that will forever change the world we live in.

The most challenging design feature was the baby dinosaur inside the hatched egg. The dinosaur is comprised of thousands of small pork and chicken cans that, because of the size, allow the overall image to translate smoothly. Planning for the cantilever parts of the body took some consideration and a second thought of the final design. Once we put the design into a modeling software called Revit, we were able to physically see and work through the construction process in order to achieve the final result. After a few practice builds our team was ready.

On build day our team was met by volunteers from Williams Company to unload and begin preparations at The Orlando Science Center. With this new venue we had additional things to consider, as the space for the build was somewhat tighter than in previous years. Once all the teams arrived, everyone worked together and the builds went off without a hitch. Soon awards will be given out for best meal, structural ingenuity, best use of labels, jurors favorite and honorable mention, as well as, People’s Choice (which you can still vote for below).

Thanks to everyone who voted! We won People’s Choice and a few others things, as well 🙂

Check out more local coverage of 2018 CANstruction Orlando below!

WKMG Channel 6: Canstruction Orlando celebrates 25 years in a fight against hunger.

Orlando Sentinel: Orlando Science Center puts canstructed sculptures on display.

A huge thank you goes out to our sponsors!

Williams Company

Windcrest Development

Cushman & Wakefield

Birchmier Construction


J. Raymond Construction