SMMA, the Princess, and the Pea

Right photo © Ian Yelich Photography

SMMA recently took part in the 22nd Annual Canstruction Boston Design-Build Event held at the Boston Society of Architects (BSA) space. Canstruction is a national competition created to combine design with charity. The nonprofit organization addresses the "issue of hunger and food insecurity across communities" by distributing 100% of canned goods used in competition to families in need via the Merrimack Valley Food Bank.

"My biggest interest in Canstruction from the beginning was the cause," explained Heather McCormack, senior associate at SMMA. "I started doing this 16 years ago when I heard about it through Society for Design Administration (SDA). Everyone here has a really close connection to the Boston Food Bank and mission. Since switching to Merrimack Valley Food Bank in 2010, we've realized the importance of donating to a smaller organization with a big outreach."


This year's theme of "Folklore, Fairy Tales, and Mythical Creatures" saw 29 firms from the Greater Boston Area come together and use their building, engineering, and design skills to help combat hunger. After months of research, brainstorming sessions, and preliminary trips to the grocery store to research can labels, SMMA settled on "The Princess and the Pea." The team took four hours, 12 different products, and 1,590 cans overall to build their structure, which was required to fit in a 10' x 10' x 10' cube within the BSA space.

"I think of build day as more of a celebration of all the combined efforts that go into Canstruction," explained Nick Perry, architect and captain of this year's Canstruction team. "The more planning and effort that goes into it, the smoother everything goes on build day. It's a great team building exercise, and team members are right there in the mix trying to solve whatever challenges may arise."


This year's team consisted of Nick Perry (captain), Sarah Traniello (co-captain), Richard Croswell, Kyle Hash, Robert Henry, Crystal Kittredge, Rachel Leibowitz, Erin Prestileo, Sarah Sopelak, Alyssa Tompkins, Amanda Vigneau, and Ian Yelich. SMMA would also like to thank the Brighton Star Market location, the Allston and Everett Stop & Shop locations, GD Group, Milliken, Fiorella's, and Interface for their generous donations and support. The Canstruction exhibit will be on display until October 27th at the BSA lobbies located at 280/290 Congress Street, Boston.