Plainville Community Schools, 47 Robert Holcomb Way, Plainville CT 06062, (860)793-3200
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Plainville High School Group Heads To Canstruction Competition

Students in Laura Kulpa's architecture and engineering classes at Plainville High School are making final preparations for their participation in the upcoming Canstruction Competition on May 15 at the Connecticut Science Center. This is the third time that Kulpa and her students have participated in the annual event.

According to the national canstruction.org website, "Canstruction, a foundation of the Society for Design Administration (SDA), is a trademarked design/build competition currently held in cities throughout North America and countries around the world including Australia. Teams of architects, engineers, and students mentored by these professionals, compete to design and build giant structures made entirely out of canned foods." At the close of the May 15 exhibition in Connecticut, all of the canned food items used in the structures will be donated to local food banks for distribution to emergency feeding programs.

Earlier in the school year, the Plainville High School students broke into teams of two to develop several different design ideas. They were encouraged to research former structures and to think outside of the box. Once each team narrowed down their thoughts to one idea, they were required to create a Computer Aided Drawing (CAD) file representing their concept in 3D format. Each team had to also create a title for their concept and a model of their idea built from Legos. After each team completed design boards, they presented their ideas to their peers and voted. This year they narrowed the ideas to the top three, which they then presented to a panel of architects at the group's mentoring firm, Amenta / Emma. In February, students took a field trip to the firm where they took a tour and caught a glimpse of a day in the life of an architect. The students then presented their top three ideas, and determined the winning concept, "Taking Hunger By Storm." The architect mentors, Karri LaCourciere and Robert Larson, and their firm have provided a wealth of support for the project, including a $200 donation toward the project, help with the project’s "mock build" and assistance in creating the structure on the day of the competition.

According to Kulpa, students have raised money for two years in order to purchase the canned food items to create this year's competition entry. Plainville High School faculty members have supported the project through fundraisers and donations. Approximately 4,300 canned food items and 2,400 juices were purchased to create this year’s concept. The student group built a lightning storm as the structure for entry to the competition. Local grocer Keith Gnazzo facilitated the purchase of the canned goods from his local distributor and has also volunteered to deliver the items to the high school and also to the competition at the Connecticut Science Center on May 15.

A number of Plainville High School faculty members and students have been key contributors to the development of this year's Canstruction entry. PHS faculty member Dean Esposti and his students have been instrumental to the design and creation of this year's structure. Students coordinated the production of the "hidden" elements in the structure " each layer includes Masonite in order to level the cans, and clear plexi-glass has been incorporated so the "lightening" generated from thundering/ flashing strobe lights can flash through. Faculty member David Gaignard and students in his communication classes are producing t-shirts for the competition designed by one of the high school's architecture students, while faculty member Jeff Wanner provided assistance in purchasing needed supplies and offering his expertise in project logistics.

"This year's project has been a phenomenal experience, to watch the students take something from concept to reality has been tremendous. I am proud to have seen each student step-up and contribute spotlighting their individual strengths and learning how working together you can achieve much more. We are fortunate to have had incredible support from our community, our faculty, and our architects. The project would not have been successful without the remarkable assistance from each of these contributors. A special thank you to Keith Gnazzo and Dean Esposti - - your efforts are greatly appreciated," said Kulpa.

"I have been extremely proud of the work that Laura and her students have accomplished over the years. This year's donation of over 7,000 cans is exceptional. Laura Kulpa and her students should be very proud; the school certainly is very proud of them," commented Plainville High School Principal, Greg Ziogas.

-Posted on May 13, 2010 at 01:01 PM


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