Joy Davidso

Sarah Pacheco
Wednesday - August 12, 2009
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What do you get when you put thousands of cans of tuna, Spam and vegetables into the hands of some of Hawaii’s top architects? As long as no one’s challenging them to make one interesting casserole, you get the fourth annual Canstruction Competition.

This Saturday, 10 teams of local architects and allied design/engineering professionals will come together to transform a supermarket staple into an artistic structure. Returning to chair the event is historical architect Joy Davidson.

Davidson was brought on board to assist the original chair two years ago; she stayed, she says, for “a hundred reasons.”

“First and foremost, it’s a great cause,” Davidson continues. “It is fun working with the teams as they plan their structures, as well as the rest of the committee, including members from the AIA (American Institute of Architects), Hawaii Foodbank, Pearlridge and Honblue.”

Another sponsor she says helps get the job done is C&S Wholesalers, which provides a majority of canned items for not only this once-a-year event but also to all of the major grocery chains on the Island.

Davidson confesses that planning this year’s theme was a no-brainer: “Celebrating 50 Years of Statehood: Hawaii Then and Now!” pays homage to some of the best-known moments in Hawaii’s statehood history through cans - lots and lots of cans.

“Over the years we have had to literally put size constraints on the sculpture to make them bigger, because I think in the planning stages some teams just cannot fathom an 8-foot can creation. So we have a ‘no fewer than’ rule as well as a ‘you must be this high’rule for maximum impact - and maximum can donation.”

Those size requirements are to ensure Canstruction lives up to its name as the largest single-day community service project for the food bank, having given some 132,000 pounds of canned items to the organization over the past three years.

“I think the event is inherently a success for several reasons: One, it is for a fantastic cause; two, it is fun; and three, it provides an outlet for creative people that generates a tangible benefit for the community while involving the community in the process,” says Davidson, who with husband Michael has two poi dogs, Pua and Koa, and a black cat named Tiki.

To vote for your favorite can-struction, head to Pearlridge Center Uptown Aug. 15-29 during regular mall hours. One canned food donation counts as one vote. For more information, call 545-4242 or visit

-Sarah Pacheco

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