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Here Now, The Winners of Canstruction 2011 (With Time Lapse!)

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Following last week's dispatch on the first round of can-itecture at the World Financial Center's Winter Garden, man-on-the-ground Ian Volner finds out the results of this year's DIY architecture charrette.

[Photos courtesy of Canstruction/Kevin Wick.]

We saw them in the early gestation period, and now here they are in all their aluminum glory: the Canstruction can-based sculptures, now on display in the World Financial Center’s Winter Garden. It’s been a week, and amazingly none of these very precarious-looking edible aeries have collapsed to the cold marble floor. (Yet.) Just as with any major New York building project, this one was plagued by delays, union trouble, and last-minute redesigns, but all the architect teams managed to beat the buzzer and get their projects done in time to qualify for consideration by the distinguished Canstruction judges—and on Monday, one lucky firm took home the Jury Panel Prize.

The award was announced during a festive evening at Lower Manhattan’s Battery Gardens, where the warm weather (and, in all candor, rather longish speechmaking) drew many revelers to the harbor-view outdoor terraces. The array of finished work was as impressive as it’s ever been: Thornton Tomasetti’s giant Chuck Taylor sneaker Skanska’s gleaming Brooklyn Bridge CetraRuddy’s crosswalk signal. But in the end, there could be only one, and this year’s top honors went to a combo team from firms Gensler and WSP Flack + Kurtz for their massive, and conceptually subtle, “Loaded Dice.” The winners were happy, and maybe a little tipsy, when we caught up with them on the restaurant balcony.

Curbed: Congrats, fellas. It’s really beautiful. One question: what the hell is it? How is does this connect up with Canstruction’s charitable thing?
Joe Fulco, Gensler, Team Co-Captain: It’s loaded dice—a single die loaded with food. You have the odds stacked against when you’re hungry, so this “loads” the dice in your favor? We also felt like a lot of people do hollow cubes, so we split ours open, did a section to show people that it’s not hollow.
Nick Peretta, Flack + Kurtz, Co-Captain: What we were trying to do was create an amazing array of food offerings, the inside being exposed so that we show we have a great meal in there.

Curbed: It definitely is a pretty startling array of food. How much, and how many
colors?
Fulco: Twenty-four different types of food, in 24 varieties. We wanted to get the most food, and to do that was to do a solid cube. There’s 8,950 cans in all? We had a hard time getting the pink cans.
Patrick Rothwell, Gensler, Co-Captain: They kept changing the labels.
Nick: The A&P has this brand, America’s Choice, that makes fourteen individual colors. From the beginning we were thinking, how can we make it more colorful, how can we put more cans in.

Curbed: A couple people had the same concept this year—there were two Alexander McQueen shoes, two Angry Bird sculptures?
Nick: We almost did Angry Birds! But the dice concept was stronger. Angry Birds had been done in the past. The Boston office of Gensler did it one year!

Curbed: One quibble: This is a loaded die, not a loaded dice, which would be plural. What’s with the nomenclature confusion?
Fulco: We were afraid of the connotation of die, so we called it dice. Like, “Die for Hunger” just didn’t sound right.
--Reporting by Ian Volner
· Top Design Firms Make DIY Architect-ed Palaces Out of Cans [Curbed]