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UCR Team Wins "Canstruction" Award


Canned Beans, Sardines and Campus Scene Earn Win for UCR Team

Engineering students win for best of use of labels in Canstruction event that raised money for the Riverside Art Museum and food for hungry people.

(May 1, 2007)

UCR engineering students designed this campus scene in the Canstruction competition. Photo by Michael Elderman.Enlarge

UCR engineering students designed this campus scene in the Canstruction competition. Photo by Michael Elderman.

A mountain of baked beans, an 8-foot-tall bell tower of albacore cans and silver sardine-can arches built by UC Riverside engineering students won the hearts of judges in Canstruction, a Riverside Arts Alliance fundraiser for the Riverside Art Museum.

The Bourns College of Engineering team’s design, which incorporated well-known features of the UCR campus, won the award for best use of labels in the April event and will advance to international competition. The 6,000 cans of baked beans, green beans, sardines, albacore and mandarin oranges used in the entry will help feed hungry residents of the Inland Empire.

Canstruction is an international service project of the design and construction industry, and credited to The Society for Design Administration. The Riverside event raised money for the museum and produced thousands of cans of food for Second Harvest Food Bank Serving Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.

Christian Foster, director of undergraduate research at Bourns College of Engineering, served as faculty adviser. He said Canstruction provided a valuable experience for students in teamwork, computer-aided design, estimation and fabrication.

“The opportunity to do something in the community is important,” he added. “Students this age are very oriented on service.”

Team Captain Nichola Kinsinger said designing an entry that was attractive, nutritious and sturdy enough to stand for one month challenged the students’ skills.

“We realized how difficult it is to build square things out of round cans,” she said. “We also tried to keep nutrition in mind.”

Allen Pham, a senior who designed arches to resemble those of the Tomás Rivera Library, said he had fun developing the plan for columns that were four sardine cans wide and 20 cans tall, with additional cantilevered rows creating the arches.

“It’s a great cause,” he said as he carefully lined seven silver cans in a row before affixing one long piece of packing tape. “This is a chance to give back to the community.”

The charitable event, held for the first time in the Inland Empire, calls attention to the plight of local people who go hungry every day, said Tracylynn Sharritt, director of development for Second Harvest. The organization provides 22 million pounds of every year to more than 450 nonprofit agencies in the Inland Empire.

In addition to Kinsinger and Pham, UCR team members included Christina Zapata, Giovanni Devina, Deep Shah, Su Nwe, Jesse Banuelos, Brian Hawkinson, Martin Gawecki, Jason Niccoli, Anand Panchal and Jordan Barta.

They competed against Southern California teams from HDR Architecture, Pasadena; HMC Architects, Ontario; Carla Bender, Spirit Trail Studios, Riverside, and students from the Department of Architecture, Cal Poly, Pomona.

The structures will remain on display at the Riverside Art Museum through May 23.
Members of the UCR Canstruction Team include (from left) Christina Zapata, Team Captain Nichola Kinsinger, faculty adviser Chris Foster, Martin Gawecki, Deep Shah and Anand Panchal. Photo by Michael Elderman.Enlarge

Members of the UCR Canstruction Team include (from left) Christina Zapata, Team Captain Nichola Kinsinger, faculty adviser Chris Foster, Martin Gawecki, Deep Shah and Anand Panchal. Photo by Michael Elderman.

A closeup of the UCR bell tower, made of cans of albacore. Photo by Michael Elderman.Enlarge

A closeup of the UCR bell tower, made of cans of albacore. Photo by Michael Elderman.

The University of California, Riverside (www.ucr.edu) is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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