Eight Brown University engineering student used approximately 2500 cans to build a Brown Bear taking a selfie and won two awards. It was all part of the CANSTRUCTION competition organized by the Structural Engineering Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and held at the Structures Congress in Boston on April 3-5. This is a competition where students have to create a structure using canned food. After the event, the cans of food are then donated to a local food bank. Its mission is to provide hunger relief assistance by collecting canned food, while promoting the design/build industry.
The Brown team members included: Rachel Connor ’14, Katie Hsia ’17, Kenta Kondo ’17, Margaret Mathieu ’17, Thomas Schiefer ’14, Jenn Thomas ’14, Max Vinhateiro ’14, and Ka Ling Wu ’14. The team was sponsored by Odeh Engineering, Inc. and Gilbane Building Company.
The CANSTRUCTION build took place all day on Thursday, April 3. On Friday, approximately 1200 structural engineers from around the country who were attending the conference submitted their votes for the People’s Choice Award. The Brown team won the awards for both Structural Ingenuity and People’s Choice.
Planning for the competition began in November, and the group was advised by Julie Marton, adjunct lecturer in the School of Engineering.
“I was the faculty advisor, but the students came up with the design and built everything themselves,” said Marton.
“Our mission was to build something that incorporated Brown, Rhode Island, and some structural innovation. And we wanted it to be fun, which is why we went with the “selfie” theme,” said Marton.
In December the team went to a local supermarket and determined how many cans of each type to buy.
“We had to balance buying the correct number and size of cans, while still keeping within our budget and choosing colors that will work well for the design,” said Marton.
The students also learned how to use the Autodesk Revit software and created a 3D model of the bear in the software before the competition. Autodesk was a sponsor of the CANSTRUCTION event.