Getting to the Core of Hunger at CANstruction

On Saturday, November 7th, VLK Architects competed in Canstruction Houston, Inc., the Society for Design Administration-Houston Chapter's one-of-a-kind design and build competition benefiting the Houston Food Bank. This year's event hosted 24 professional and 7 high school/mentor teams and yielded 125,000 donated cans. VLK Architects participated in the high school/mentor category by joining for the fifth year with Cypress-Fairbanks ISD's Langham Creek High School students who are currently enrolled in the school's Architecture and Engineering Program.

'Working with VLK over the last 5 years has been a great experience for myself and my students,' said Jennifer O'Brian, Industrial Technology Teacher, Langham Creek High School. 'VLK has made it so that my students get to do the design work and VLK takes care of the rest. Knowing that my students don't have to worry about the registration fees and all of the paperwork makes participating in CANstructioin possible for us.'

The theme this year was 'Core Out Hunger.' The team who met twice a month beginning in September developed a design concept that revolved around the idea that hunger needs to be eliminated down to the core. By combining the core of the world and an apple core, which is the represented logo for the Houston Food Bank, the team created the idea for the structure. The cans of the structure are meant to represent that with each can that is donated to the food bank, hunger can be eliminated.

'CANstruction was fun this year,' said Langham Creek High School student, Agustin Ventrice. 'The idea of the world with the core of an apple was really good and I liked it a lot!'

The mentor experience was especially meaningful for Krista Thomas, VLK Architects Intern who is a Cypress-Fairbanks ISD Alumni and a former student that was enrolled in the same Architectural and Engineering Program as the Langham Creek High School students.

'As a former Cy-Fair ISD student, I found watching students work and learn the joy of design was an extremely nostalgic experience for me,' said Thomas. 'During the design process, the students occasionally would ask about college and how I got to the position I am in today. I found it rewarding to not only give back to the Houston Food Bank, but also to have the opportunity to encourage students to chase their dreams. I am extremely thankful that VLK allows its employees to take time out our work days to become part of experiences like these!'

Canstruction is a unique charity which hosts competitions, exhibitions, and events showcasing colossal structures made entirely out of cans of food. After the structures are built, the cansculptures are displayed to the public as a giant art exhibition. At the end of the event, all food is donated to local hunger relief organizations. Since 1996, professional and student teams from Greater Houston have donated nearly 600,000 pounds (around 300 tons) of food to the Houston Food Bank