Architecture Competitions, Late Nights, App Idea for Architects & Side Hustle as a Student | SAS Podcast 23 with Chaim Lieder

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Win Architecture Competitions, Avoid Late Nights, an App Idea for Architects and Students?! + How to Side Hustle as a Student.

Interview with Chaim Lieder

Imagine taking a photo of a building and instantly getting access to all the information about it. From what materials it uses, who the design team was, year of completion and so forth. With Chaim Lieder’s app idea for architects and students, you’d be able to do just that.

On today’s podcast episode, I talk with Chaim about how you can enter and win architecture competitions, how to avoid late nights and manage your time better, Chaim’s app idea and how to manage and balance a side hobby or hustle while in architecture school.

Chaim Lieder is a third year architecture student from Melbourne, Australia. Chaim has completed a 2 year diploma of building design and is “the happiest architecture student”, loving every step of the way.

This episode is jam packed with knowledge, so I encourage you to watch the full episode, or save it for a later time. You do not want to miss this.

Thank you, Chaim, for sharing your wisdom with us.


Get my new ebook! “How to Ace Any Project in Architecture School”


Connect with Chaim:

IG: @c.lieder




101 Things I Didn’t Learn in Architecture School by Sarah Lebner:

I hope you enjoy the show! Feel free to discuss anything in the comments below. I try to respond to every comment 🙂

Hey! My name’s Kyle.

From a sample of 25,000 students that applied to enter architecture school:
15.30% of them were accepted.
8.50% of them made it through to the second half of their education.
2.04% of them were awarded a degree in Architecture (post-graduate)
0.78% of them ended up working a job in architecture.

Successful Archi Student is a platform for architecture students to learn off one another to become the LESS THAN 1% of students who end up being successful in the profession.

On the podcast, you’ll hear from practicing architects, other successful students and myself, Kyle, a third year architecture student from South Australia.

Doing so, you’ll learn the tips and tricks to excel past the rest of your cohort and build the skills needed to take your work to another level.

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Episode 23 Transcript. Architecture Competitions, Late Nights, App Idea for Architects & Side Hustle as a Student - Interview with Chaim Lieder

Kyle  0:00 

This is the successful students podcast episode 23.


Kyle  0:44 

Hey, everyone, welcome to the episode today I’m going to be bringing on another guest. This is the third guests in a row in the last three days that I’ve interviewed so I’m super excited and super pumped about this. I’m now meeting with Chaim from Melbourne, Australia and he’s A third year architecture student like myself, except he’s got a bit of an edge on me because he’s already finished a two year deployment in building design, which I think is incredible. And he’s, he’s definitely ambitious. And he’s definitely motivated to do really well a bit of an insight into this episode, we’re going to be talking about how to enter and how to win architecture competitions, because he’s, um, he’s come recently come first placed in a kitchen design competition. And so we get in depth about that, we’ll be talking about late nights and how to manage stress and how to manage your time better, so that you don’t have to stay out past 11 o’clock at night, which I think is going to be super helpful for you guys. And also gonna be talking about our claims app idea for a an app for architects, which is pretty much where you scan, or take a photo of a building, and you scan that building, and it tells you all the relevant details about the materials and the schedule of the materials and it will tell you all the project information such as the team and when it was completed and all this kind of information, which I think it’s a great Great idea. And it’s definitely something to be excited about. And also want to get to know what you guys think about that, because he’s really trying to develop it forward to making it a real thing to happen. And on that note, and we’ll also be talking about how to manage a side hustle or a side hobby while in architecture school, because a lot of students think that they don’t have much time to work on something else while in architecture school. Except that’s just simply not true. And there’s so much time in the world that you can actually have a side hobby have a side passion, aside from architecture. So I think this episode’s gonna be super helpful. And I don’t want to waste your time anymore. So I really think we should just get straight into the interview with him. So without further ado, here we go. Welcome to the successful artists podcast on today’s show. I’m joined by Chaim from Melbourne, Australia. What’s up Chaim?


Chaim  2:47 

How’s it going?


Kyle  2:48 

yeah, really good. Thank you. It’s an absolute pleasure to have you on the show. And for those listening who don’t really know who you are, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?


Chaim  2:57 

So my name is Chaim. I’m a Third year design student at Swinburne University. And yeah, I’m just overall one of the happiest architecture student out there. You know, I love it. And I’m glad to be on this podcast and talk about architecture.


Kyle  3:18 

So you knew this question was coming but why architecture? What made you decide that you wanted to be an architect?


Chaim  3:25 

Right so I don’t have that classic story of you know, when I was a kid was don’t building things or drawing. It was more of like the dollar it really I’m so a lot of people would be like, I was probably 19. You know, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. And I went to Chris caslon. After the meeting, we discovered that our life building so I enrolled in a diploma Building and Construction style and that I really, really lost it but I want to warn you, that was more of the nitty gritty The details or to the overall picture. And that’s why I decided to transfer to a diploma building design, which I did for two years online. And I was That was amazing. I loved it, got to working on a few projects. And eventually I finished and went on to the bachelor


Kyle  4:19 

eautiful. Could you tell us a bit more about what that course was? And kind of like you said that was online. So you didn’t have to go anywhere for that, kind of what did that involve? So I was studying in LA at the time.


Chaim  4:35 

And I would basically spend the whole afternoon doing about four or five hours. The course was a it was called a diploma design. It was offered to what was the incorporated 10 an ounce tape digital. And so while there wasn’t any peer to peer contact and, you know, one on one consultations with the tutors, if he did, I found that it was it was a It was still really good, you know, they were really responsive, those have to call out every day to kind of buy them at the end that they were finished. So that was really good. And you know, you got to work at your own pace, and really take things as they can learn most of what I notice on YouTube, you know, putting on amazing tutorials and who’s great. Yeah, I feel like that’s one of the best ways to go about it. But so it was that course, a lot more like construction, detailing our kind of building as opposed to designing architecture. We didn’t do much of the building construction details. We started with the site analysis all the way through to construction, documentation and producing our renderings and models and it was really more the design side of things which I really enjoyed.


Kyle  5:56 

That would have given you a massive edge over other students as well. Who experiencing architecture for the first time as you’re moving into doing your university university degree? Is that something you recommend other students to take that path of doing a Diploma first before going to university?


Chaim  6:14 

so I would definitely recommend that although the way I went about it, I did two years completed and then started the bachelor right away and I had to complete the full bachelor. So, you know, although I did have two years extra studying, whereas some people do a diploma, let’s say, I know a lot of my meta unit started with a diploma and went straight into the third year or second year. So often another option which I found that they came into the cost a lot more with a lot better technical knowledge, and, you know, draft and capabilities. So their deployment definitely strong in that regard where, whereas the bachelor students were more like conceptual and more model making


Kyle  7:03 

A lot more creative.


Chaim  7:05 



Kyle  7:07 

So you actually reached out to me last week with an app idea for architects and I want to dig a bit deeper into this for my own curiosity. But also to help understand what other architecture students would think about this. So the idea is that you have an app on your phone. And that’s where you kind of take a photo of a building and it gives you access to the details and the project team and your year of completion. And also, I think material information, is that right?


Kyle  7:37 



Kyle  7:39 

yeah, could you tell us a bit more about what sparked this idea and the inspiration behind it?


Chaim  7:44 

Sure. So it was really a few years coming, you know, from when I started architecture all of a sudden, I’m sure people can relate all sudden you’re driving down the street and you just almost crashed at the hundred times. Just looking at thousand photos of buildings. So, you know, a few instances I would pull out on like look at the building block while I was some impressive cladding or other doors I was really, really cool. And I think to myself a lot, a lot of articles and we’ll look into them and see other projects for inspiration. And be actually lot to like, you know, find out more about the material, the materials used, the building components and the systems I’ve used and really get access to that information so I could use on my own projects, but I found that that was close to impossible. Yeah, but what can I do? People that dress you know, and 110 times the project would be featured. And then maybe at the End of lesson, half an hour research, how to come up with enough doctors That’s about it. So I thought, you know, it would be such a great service to architects and students alive. If you could, you know, snap a picture of a building, and automatically get access to building information such as the contract, the year of completion, that protect, as well as the relevant manufacturing details all there in your hand ready to use for future projects. And I have reached out a few afterwards to see to test its visibility. And it’s still on the, you know, the very early stages, particularly with people’s feedback and, you know, other people will be able to make this a reality and i think i think will be great for everybody.


Kyle  9:49 

Oh, yeah, I agree. And this leads me to think about how a lot of architecture students they think that they can only have kind of one thing to focus on at a time. And what I mean by this is that like, We think we’re so busy that we can’t have a side hustle or a hobby or a passion outside of architecture. So for students who are thinking like that, what would you say to them to change their minds and inspire them to gain more skills outside of architecture?


Chaim  10:14 

Well, I think your the professional, maybe the most you could do but what I could say is that it’s funny because one of my electives was actually entrepreneurship and opportunity. And I definitely recommend that as an elective, because I found from from when I started that unit, till now my mind’s been working differently now, I got one thing out of that unit is just turning like the problems that you had to like, I wish somebody would do something about it to like, maybe I could do something about it. And I find that even just thinking thinking like that could get you really far and, you know, create some amazing friends. us


Kyle  11:00 

that takes you back to when I was reading Rich Dad Poor Dad, I don’t know if you’ve read that book. It actually is such a good book, but it says it, I think it’s like, question, a statement closes the mind and the question opens it and like allows you to keep going. So I think that’s relating to what you’re saying there, which is just, you can do something about it, then. You know, you can because it’s like,


Chaim  11:28 

Who else who else will do it? If it’s not you. Exactly.


Kyle  11:33 

And because it’s the same idea, I guess, with getting a part time job, or like an iMac at an architecture firm or starting your own business or gaining skills that are gonna make you more valuable as an architect. And if you keep pursuing this app idea, if you end up making it or not, it doesn’t really matter, because you’re going to learn all of these skills along the way. And they’re gonna make you more valuable not just as an entrepreneur, but like, in the industry as an architect as well. You know, you can put Not designer or business manager on your resume and so forth. And these are additional skills you’re bringing to the table that when it comes down to it, like, when you’re getting employed, I guess it’s, it’s, I think that’s gonna be really valuable. So I want to ask Do you have any advice for someone to balance working on something else while also studying architecture?


Chaim  12:23 

Well, it’s funny you say that because I know this wasn’t your question, but someone asked me in the past about design competitions, and they asked me a lot because I recently did one and I undertook that at the last few weeks of my semester, so call me crazy but from my work, you know, be sitting doing rendering for three hours and I just wanted to get you know, some some different you know, change of scenery. So I’ve worked on it was a kitchen design competition. Run around Australia. And I found that having something else to work on really refreshes your mind. It’s almost like going outside, going for a walk and then coming back because your mind, you know, you could get really, really tired of doing the same thing over and over again. And sometimes you need something else to take your mind off it for a few minutes to come back, you know, much more first and no talking about competitions. I would definitely recommend people getting into that. So in my kitchen design competition, just purely just for fun, you know, just to get my mind off my current studies, but also, you know, got to learn a lot more about the little details of cabinetry and the manufacturers and budget and actually went on to win that There’s an aha Yeah, I didn’t plan on doing I just did it for my own development. But when he called me is like ultimate, you know, because there are a few winners, he’s not going to let you know that you are the winner and I was like, Okay, what fifth or sixth? At the end of the phone calls I did wait one more thing to ask like what I can ask sweet. So the kitchen is actually going to build right now. So it’s gonna be really wow. So anyone looking to do something else with the with the time zone?


Kyle  14:38 

Wow, you have to send me some photos or something of that and I’ll put on the screen for this because that’s really cool. Man, do you really like are the master. The fact that you’ve done that in your bio, you’ve got your final submission and so that really seeing both your architecture working and also doing something else. I think that


Chaim  14:59 

Well, it helped me remain focusses. this. And I would come back with a fresh mind. It was a win-win, it was great.


Kyle  15:09 

Oh yeah. And I think that’s what architecture is kind of all about. Because if you’re working in a firm, you know, you’re going to have multiple projects at once. You can’t just work on one thing. So that’s really cool. So talking about competitions. Like how did you find that kitchen competition because I’ve had a look around as well, a bit myself this questions more for me, I guess. But for everyone else that wants to do competitions as well. Where would you go about finding them?


Chaim  15:36 

This was more random on community Facebook group and my mate. He was actually on at the time, so I joined later, he just sent me a message that he should go back to take something like jerk. I didn’t really look into it for weeks and then eventually Down at the brief and standard working on so those just more random but I think I believe there’s a couple Instagram pages to share competition too much all day off and email them to you and you first turn on the link or something. Yep. But I’m sure that to market different competitions going around text for students


Kyle  16:32 

and I kind of makes me think like the fact that you’ve just had this sent to you and you thought nothing of it at the start, but you’ve turned it into actually, you know, you made it happen and you’ve just gone with it. And I think that’s really cool that you’re just kind of when you’ve got an opportunity in front of you just to take it and you know, your first place and you’ve learned a lot from


Chaim  16:54 

  1. I couldn’t let myself not finish it. You know, just I told myself wanted to quit probably five turned arms was at this point anyways, I don’t know. But I just had to submit submit something and I’m happy I did.


Kyle  17:11 

That’s awesome. So with this app idea, you sound like you’re a bit of a roadblock at the moment. Yeah. Could you tell us a bit more about what skills that you require to move forward? I guess. And if there’s someone who’s listening to this, who wants to get on board, what skills would they need to help them out?


Chaim  17:33 

So at this point, the number one roadblock is can we access this building information without to counsel to see what sort of information is readily accessible to the public. And they did respond that the density matters much that I could see other than I think the lead contractor and maybe the perfect size Which is going for that’s just tipping the surface of what I’m trying to access. So I believe that if there’s if there’s a way to assets, the specification of a given project, that would be the key, and then creating the technical side of things to be able to extract the relevant information from that. That is very doable. Sure. That’s the main robot is accessing the building information and I’m meeting with the doctor tomorrow. And I’m going to speak to him and see what’s possible, what’s not possible and see what happens. But if there’s somebody out there that may be able to shed some light on this, we’d be more than happy to, to hear what you have to say and you know, potentially partner up with if that is the case.


Kyle  18:52 

And if there is someone who wants to partner up, how can they get in contact with you?


Chaim  18:57 

Sure. So you can contact me by email, which


Kyle  19:03 

I could maybe put that on the screen.


Chaim  19:07 

Yep, right there. Yeah, that’d be great. I’d love to hear from anyone who might have something to say about or even just some feedback, or, you know, a lot of people would actually want to use such a service.


Kyle  19:25 

Beautiful. Out of curiosity, who was the architect that you’re meeting with? Is it a Melbourne based architect?


Chaim  19:30 

Yeah. So about six months ago, took this initiative to reach out to several architecture firms and see if I could meet with one of the architects I just put up, wrote up a list of like 10 questions. And I thought it’d be really great not to make the connection but to hear from a practicing architect. And I met I think it was 12 or two Aloe Vera, from small firms to the large firms. And you know, I wish I would have compiled all the data I got it because I got such such good information not just to me, but for anyone, any student, you know, questions to do it, how to know how to go about getting a job, more content, more personal questions as to why they started off picture how they got to the top role. So one of the was actually I think the first after that I met with decide to reach out to him again and see if he’ll he’ll be willing to me with me, talking about what’s happened was really common in meeting tomorrow and hopefully a couple more in the next few weeks to see if it’s possible.


Kyle  20:48 

That’s awesome. And I think that a lot of students get caught up with they they would think that architects of these kind of busy people that have no time and they don’t want to help younger people, but From what I’ve experienced it I’m sure you have to you’ve kind of realized that architects so they love helping, you know, people like you and I and architecture students in general. So to go out and actually just meet with them and ask them questions and just get name out there, it’s it’s such a great idea.


Chaim  21:16 

Well definitely recommend it. All it takes is one phone call or one email to the phone that you’re interested in or local phone and I’d say 90% of the time, they’d be more than happy to meet with you. Have a chat. So that was great. Oh, definitely.


Kyle  21:34 

And a tip for doing that. If anyone’s listening, just buy them a coffee or lunch or something that’d be over the moon with joy.


Kyle  21:46 

It’s great. Okay, so I want to move on from that. I want to talk about kind of how you’ve progressed over the past years, because having that experience, doing a diploma first would have given you a massive Head Start over the shins and if years of architecture school. So, however you want to still come across challenges and you would have made mistakes. Is there anything that you wish you would have known? When starting from the start again, say, for a high school student who’s looking to be an architect, what advice would you have for them?


Chaim  22:20 

Interesting q uestion. What advice would I give to an Archi student? I’ll say, just never be, never give up. When you’re you’re overwhelmed to know, you know, you’re going to get deadlines and there’s gonna be times where you feel like, you won’t be able to make it and it’s impossible but you keep persevering and working through it, you’re gonna, you’re going to make it through and you’ll make it to the end even though not at the end. I just found that they know like a few days before deadlines on stressing you out or not to do but you just have to sit down Through a summit where you can, you’ll get there eventually.


Kyle  23:08 

Love that and kind of leads me on I want to talk about late nights because that’s quite a name, I guess that’s developed. But students don’t sleep. And you’re quite far into your architecture journey now. And you would have experienced the sleepless nights and long days. So do you have any methods you do to avoid staying up all night? Or to better manage your time so that you aren’t stressed?


Chaim  23:36 

Yeah, so funnily enough, I actually have no idea. I’m breaking the myth.


Kyle  23:43 

Yeah, I was gonna say do you think that’s a bit of a misconception? Because I haven’t either.


Chaim  23:47 

I mean, have you had all-nighters?


Kyle  23:49 

I’m usually in bed by 11, 12 the latest.

Chaim  23:54 

I’m in bed by 7 pm


Chaim  23:58 

I think it’s a misconception, people get scared almost when they hear that stuff on ours. But when I do come home, and probably be I’m a computer from like, six 7pm to 11. So it’s a good to me for five hours tops, but never had to do all nighters. So I haven’t had to deal with that idea. But what I did find with my, you know, limited hours that a computer is that as I said earlier, when you bounce around between different projects that you’re working on, because you would typically be working on, you might be doing physical modeling for this unit while you’re doing rendering for the other one. I found that when you went to almost become stale, would just sit in front of your computer for two hours trying to get this render in. It’ll be nice to you know, move on, put your laptop away, get the model that were from that for a couple hours, and just bounce around between all your different tasks. Though keep everything fresh and going.


Kyle  25:03 

Yeah, I agree at that point that you made that you’ve never made a never had a Oh, neither are you always in bed by 11 or whatever that kind of proves that you’re good at managing your time and balancing these things. So I think that’s pretty cool. So we are almost running out of time. So I’ve got a couple of shorter questions for you. Sort of like a fire round. So if you have one, what’s your favorite architecture book?


Chaim  25:31 

Um. Favourite architecture book? That’s a good one. I just bought the book hundred one things that and when I saw you posted it, yeah.


Kyle  25:47 

I just bought that


Chaim  25:48 

it was really good. I knew a lot of that information just because I’ve been studying it now for a few years, but it was it’s probably the most concise book that you know, you could take on the owner covers everything from dataset or block size and easy to digest. So I definitely recommend that.


Kyle  26:07 

And you did mention that you audit Rich Dad Poor Dad before. So I want to say what’s your favorite business or kind of entrepreneurship book. That’s not architecture lighted.


Chaim  26:19 

Oh, I have to say that the key KPI, the key person of influence with author was read that and listen to the audiobook. And it was it was really good for my self development.


Kyle  26:34 

I haven’t read that one, but I’ll check it out. So who’s your favorite architect?


Chaim  26:42 

Well, international lifestyle architect or just in general, either. Well, on a local level, a lot, Joe outset. Love this designs and on a more global level. I have to say Zaha Hadid. I wouldn’t particularly design with that, but I really do appreciate it. It’s amazing. The buildings coming out of it.


Kyle  27:11 

Cool and what’s your favorite building? Then?


Chaim  27:17 

Let’s go that’s cold.


Kyle  27:21 

Think of it, send me an image of it or something and then


Chaim  27:25 

I’ll add it in.


Kyle  27:29 

So, what are your hobbies outside of architecture?


Chaim  27:33 

So I love playing soccer. That’s the best thing to get my mind off anything. I love music. Love exercising. Yeah, I’d say those three things are the main things.


Kyle  27:50 

beautiful. And lastly, where can someone find out more about you? Say, are you on Instagram or Facebook or any of this LinkedIn?


Chaim  28:00 

I’m on all of those, you know, we can put my Instagram or LinkedIn link. I’d love to connect with like minded architects or actors or students. And yeah, you can also find me on all the social media platforms.


Kyle  28:17 

Beautiful, I’ll add them all in. Cool. So finally, is there anything else that you want to mention or feel that I’ve left out before I leave you today?


Chaim  28:26 

I think it’s also good to one last thing is to, to know your your weaknesses in regards to architecture but more importantly, to know your strengths because I personally, I can’t can’t draw, you know, at all. I can stick figure out the focus on that. You know, you build your own way of doing things in your own method of designing whatever works for you is the best thing to do. Don’t Don’t think that what somebody else is doing is the The only way to do it, you know, if you find that, you know, sort of something fun another way to do it, you know, and you’ll be fine.


Kyle  29:07 

completely agree with that. That’s awesome man. So I just wanna say a massive thank you Hi, let’s live for let me isotype I’m so I myself appreciate it tremendously and I’m sure that the community of successful student will as well. It’s been absolutely honor having you as a guest and I’m sure I’ll have you back on again in the future. So thank you very much.


Chaim  29:31 

All right. Thank you Kyle.


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