POV: Point of View

9th Annual CANstruction Orange County
Design/Build Competition

Sept. 2016

Withee Malcolm's Canstruction Team kicked off the Labor Day weekend with some real labor—constructing their amazing Mad Hatter sculpture for the 9th Annual CANstruction® Orange County Design/Build Competition. The team encourages admirers of their sculpture to cast their vote for the coveted “People’s Choice” Award by donation (Under the image to the right). Voting ends September 22, 2016 at noon.

The annual event combines the fun of a design/build competition with an ingenious way to help feed hungry people. Local prominent architectural, engineering, planning, and design firms, and students mentored by these professionals, create phenomenal structures built entirely out of canned food.

This was the first year that Withee Malcolm participated in the competition but their entry suggests that they were more than up to the challenge. Using 6,000 cans of food including multiple varieties of canned fish, some colorful tomato sauce, black-eye peas and over 1,000 tea bags, they crafted an approximately 9-foot tall Mad Hatter with a striking resemblance to Johnny Depp.

Responding to the event's goal of ending hunger, the theme "Fighting Hunger Madders" comes from the Victorian era during which many textile workers, specifically hatters, were exposed to mercury substances used to cure felt. In addition to mercury poisoning, the overworked hatters suffered starvation, which caused illnesses affecting the nervous system. Confused and disturbed, these symptoms are the source for the infamous phrase “mad as a hatter.”

Lead by Anthony Corbin, who inspired his colleagues to compete, as well as Maryam Zahedi, Guillermo Trujillo, Noe Felix, and firm co-founder Dan Withee, the team's enthusiasm energized the entire staff. Not everyone who played a part in the process is in the group photo, but all those who worked behind the scenes (gathering the materials, prepping the materials, taking down the structure, contacting our donors) deserve recognition. So do the many donors including clients of the firm and other collaborators who supported the effort both financially and morally. As Anthony says, "Whether or not we are honored with an award, this project is already a success... because it was built by the hands of people willing to dedicate their time to making a difference... a difference for the community and a difference for our firm." (See Anthony's interview with KTLA Channel 5 below.)

Congratulations Withee Malcolm Architects for participating in your first CANstruction build!

Special hats off to the donors:
• Dean Abernathy of C.R.A.F.T. (Creative Research and Fabrication Technologies)
• Ganahl Lumber Company • ARC Document Solutions
• Painters and Allied Trades District Council 36
• Sherwin-Williams Paints
• Trader Joe's
• Fashandi & Associates, Inc.
• Southwest Group and Engineering Consultants, Inc.
• Mannigan Design, Inc.
• Brent and Laurie Little
• Gouvis Engineering Consulting Group
• Fuscoe Engineering, Inc.
• VCA Structural
• Thomas Safran & Associates
• Frank and Robyn Cardone