Podcasts spotlight UC architects

DAAP architecture grad shares insight from successful UC alumni for building new design careers

Searching for the right inspiration sometimes boils down to creating it yourself, claims one recent University of Cincinnati architecture grad. When Roger Chanin drew a blank while searching the web for inside advice on starting a new design firm, he developed it himself, creating neatly packaged podcast interviews with some of UC’s most successful architecture and design alums.

Portrait of UC architecture grad student Roger Chanin wearing suit and tie standing on a bridge.

Roger Chanin

“Now, no matter what kind of design firm new grads want to create, they can get good insight from successful UC architecture and design alumni who have done it and done it well,” says Chanin, spring 2020 graduate from UC’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP).

The inspiration behind Chanin’s Architecture Interior Design Podcast came while searching for advice as he developed his own career path. As a recent grad developing his own design firm, (Chanin Design LLC), Chanin enjoyed listening to podcasts for guidance but found most were geared toward a general audience or the other end of the spectrum — people already practicing in architecture or interior design professions.

“I didn’t feel like there were any good podcasts for students or young professionals just getting started, weaving their way through the different types of architecture or design they can do,” says Chanin. “While trying to start my own firm this year I really wanted to talk to some of these top professionals to get a step-by-step for how they did it.”

Secrets of success

Portrait of UC DAAP architecture professor Edson Cabalfin standing in front of architectural columns in Vienna, Italy

Edson Cabalfin

Using a bit of communication savvy and online technology, Chanin began interviewing top local alumni such as Rob Busch, founder of Drawing Dept.; Michael Schuster, founder of MSA Design; John Senhauser, founder of John Senhauser Architects, and former DAAP associate professor of architecture and interior design Edson Cabalfin, who in 2018 designed the Philippine Pavilion for the Venice Architecture Biennale.

Since February, Chanin has added 13 podcasts to his site consisting of 45-minute interviews with UC-connected professionals now living and working across the globe. Digging deeply into how each speaker developed their own styles and overcame obstacles as students and young professionals, Chanin shares their advice and creative secrets for turning their design firms into successful careers.

Within six months, Chanin had included long-distance chats with Luis Musa currently working in the Dominican Republic, Adam Rouse with the Aidlin Darling Design firm in San Francisco and UC doctoral grad Shubber Falah, currently living in Iraq, designing a five-star hotel and teaching at the University of Kufa.

In addition, three podcasts currently provide tips and tricks for surviving on co-op, featuring an interview with DAAP student Ben Paulus describing the benefits of his uccoop.com website, which centralizes links to housing, transportation and shopping sites in more than 32 co-op cities across the country.

Portrait of Hannah Beachler, former UC student and Oscar winner for production design for "The Black Panther" movie.

Hannah Beachler

Even former UC student Hannah Beachler, the Oscar-winning designer for the blockbuster film “Black Panther,” has been a speaker. Beachler, the first African American to be nominated for the production design Academy Award and the first to win it, discusses how someone with a design degree from DAAP can become successful in the film industry, detailing how she started her career and was eventually promoted to production designer for Marvel Entertainment.

“While I’m hoping to inspire other young professionals to learn from the best and brightest, I’m also highlighting how successful design professionals with prior connections to UC got their firms off the ground,” says Chanin. 

It is amazing how the co-op system places you in a position to become well connected in your chosen profession before even graduating. UC teaches the tools then provides the opportunities through co-op to go out into the workforce to develop and apply those skills.

Roger Chanin UC arcitectural grad student

Designs on a future

As an undergrad, Chanin began his podcast project after interviewing Udo Greinacher, SAID DAAP Niehoff Professor for film and media studies. “I was green starting out so my interview skills were not that good but professor Greinacher took the time to help me learn the skills necessary to be successsful at podcasting,” says Chanin.

Portrait of Dean of DAAP Timothy Jachna.

Timothy Jachna

“The following week I had my first interview with DAAP professor William Williams about architecture and real estate and how being your own developer as an architect can not only help launch your success but can greatly help the community.” 

With Williams’ recommendations the podcasts began to grow, including an interview with DAAP’s dean Timothy Jachna about his vision for the future of the UC school and design.

Using analytics reports from the podcast host, Chanin tracked the activity that started with 200 listeners from the Cincinnati area in February to more than 2,000 listeners nationally per episode six months later.

In spite of the pandemic, Chanin not only continued recording podcasts but also started his own design firm before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in architecture in April — already lining up dozens of local projects including home additions, major residential renovations and new construction projects.

Hands-on help

Three female UC students sit together inside a recording studio in front of a microphone.

Even DAAP co-op students weigh in on the podcast sharing hints and tips for how to survive and live well while on co-op across the country.

Along his journey, Chanin credits UC’s co-op program for the real hands-on talent he was able to develop. While being mentored by Alexander Christoforidis, DAAP associate professor of architecture and adjunct co-op director, Chanin learned how to pace himself and merge his co-op collaborations into his podcast lineup.

Portrait of DAAP professor Alexander Christoforidis wearing headphones and holding his thumb up in front of a microphone.

Alexander Christoforidis

“Co-op was very helpful for meeting a lot of the people I interviewed,” says Chanin. “It is amazing how the co-op system places you in a position to become well connected in your chosen profession even before graduating.” 

According to Chanin, UC is the kind of program that teaches the basics of design and assigns projects to give students the opportunity to learn their own style. 

“UC lets you decide how you’re going to develop your own architectural skills. They teach the tools then provide the opportunities through co-op to go out into the workforce to develop and apply those skills,” he adds.

While resuming his podcast interviews, Chanin plans to return to DAAP this fall to work on his master’s degree in architecture. He will continue to run his business but will make sure to reach out to more alumni and designers across the country as he builds the SAID Architecture Interior Design Podcast.

“In lieu of selling ads for making a profit, I prefer to keep the podcast site nonprofit as motivation for alumni and speakers to voluntarily share their stories, their inspiration and to make a positive impact on the next generation of design leaders,” adds Chanin.


Listen to the SAID Architecture Interior Design Podcast for free, or on Spotify, RadioPublic, Google Podcasts, Breaker, Apple Podcasts and more.


Featured image at top: Roger Chanin's Architecture and Interior Design podcast banner. Photos/provided by Roger Chanin

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