Portfolio Critique


Hello everyone.

I am new to Archinect. I have been putting together a design portfolio to apply for graduate schools and was wondering if anyone could give me some feedback?

I have a unique design background in Visual Communications (BFA) and Architecture (BS). I wanted my portfolio to reflect some ideas about me as a designer in addition to just projects about architecture.

It is largely a portfolio about ideas, process and hand drawing rather than finished product and renderings; as a work in progress, I am a bit concerned for this as well as its overall length.

I'd really appreciate any feedback and constructive criticism so I can improve it!

Thank you for your time,


Jan 18, 13 3:39 pm
boots cats

High five. That looks really sharp.

Maybe think about giving your sketches more room to breathe? There are a few pages where the sketches are so dense together that they start to just blend to a pretty texture of "sketching", rather than actually standing on their own as drawings. 

Page 15, did you intentionally change the spelling of "Angkor Wat"? Page 35, "massiveness" and not "massivness". Or just "mass" maybe. Or "monumentality?"

It seems kinda awkward to put your name after that quote on page 3. I feel like there is a certain type of person who cites their own quotes, and you probably don't want to be that person. [Especially since the sentence is already in the first person. It's obviously you speaking.] The sentence itself is good and looks nice on the page.

Overall, you're in really good shape.

Where are you applying?

Jan 18, 13 6:48 pm

I agree. Overall, you are in good shape, but it is way too long at the moment. Make it like the Ivan Drago - Apollo Creed fight in Rocky IV. Keep pounding with hard punches and then land the knockout blow. Precise and powerful. There are some things in the portfolio right now that you can lose without impacting what you want to say.

Jan 18, 13 7:16 pm

Super cool drawing diagrams and sketches. I enjoyed it! I'm sure there are some small technical things you can change, but at a quick glance it's really well done. 

Jan 18, 13 10:05 pm
ms. medici

Pretty long, but full of interesting content. The self-quote is pretty awkward, and the dictionary definitions are super childish. Those pages would be much better with just the one-word heading.

Jan 19, 13 4:54 pm

Thank you all for the advice! Yes, the quote is awkward. And no, I don't want to be that person! haha. Do you think that just having it, without quotations is ok? Or is the quote itself something I should replace?

I'm hearing a lot of the same thing about length. (Which I agree with) I am having trouble figuring out which pages/projects should go. Is the art/sculpture too much in the beginning and could I take out a few of those projects? Anything from the back of the portfolio?
What pages do you feel could be left out and still be 'precise and powerful' without losing anything?

@jibjab - Do you mean the definitions themselves are childish, or just the fact that I have the in general?...Don't you think it would be awkward with just a one word heading and nothing underneath or should I limit these in between pages to all of the right hand content and take out the left page all together?

@bootscats - the texture of sketching was something I was going for, because I wanted the viewer to feel the sense of me always sketching and discovering on that trip. However, I think it would be interesting to maybe highlight a few in a certain way, or create a hierarchy or narrative through them. How do you feel this could best be accomplished?

Finally, do you think this could stand alone for admittance to an MARCH I or II program? Or, should I include more final renderings/technical drawings...or possibly another project?

I guess I'm just nervous seeing other examples of portfolios that are PACKED with architecture.

Jan 19, 13 5:53 pm

Any other advice would be very helpful! Thanks!

Jan 22, 13 12:10 pm
ms. medici

I don't mean this to be harsh, but the whole premise of using a dictionary definition in that way just sounds like something a child tasked with writing a speech would start with.

It would be much, much less awkward with just a one word heading. But if the empty space bothers you, you need to design the page more, not just fill it with filler like dictionary definitions.

Jan 23, 13 1:27 am

Ok. I will try that and see how it looks. Any advice on the projects themselves and how to shorten it without losing anything?

Content wise, should I include more final renderings/technical drawings...or possibly another project? Again, worried about it standing next to other MARCH, MARCHII applicants that have a lot more rendered product...

Thank you!

Jan 23, 13 9:39 am

Really nice!  I would NOT put in any final renderings.  I think it would take away from the overall cohesive hand style of the portfolio.  You may want to eliminate the smith group pages.  It's great that you have work experiance, but it kinda throws the flow of the portfolio off for me.  You may want to instead include a paragraph or two in the intro about your experiance rather than showing the projects you worked on as part of the portfolio (especially at the end).  One last thing would be the colors of the page layouts.  I'm not crazy about the pink and yellow color coding.  It does not really compliment your awesome drawings.  I would keep the page layout style really simple black and white.  Good luck!

Jan 23, 13 10:21 am
ms. medici

Where are you thinking about applying? Most of this year's deadlines have already long past...

Jan 24, 13 3:22 pm

Not long past. Most were due just last month. I took a year to work and finalize my application materials. I am interested in GSAPP, the GSD, Berkeley, Yale, University of Michigan, University of Maryland, Arizona State, University of Illinois and Clemson.

Jan 24, 13 4:09 pm
ms. medici

I'm not sure I understand. Did you already apply to these schools with the portfolio you posted? Or are you planning to apply a month after the admissions deadline?

Jan 26, 13 2:14 pm

I am looking to potentially apply this coming year, and wanted advice on the portfolio I posted to make it better.

Jan 29, 13 2:50 pm

@Jlax - Thank you!! I will definitely try it without the internship pages since, I agree, it seems like they are a different language than the rest of it. Maybe I can just mention that experience in my Resume/CV. As for the pink, which are you refering to? I will try out a different color scheme and see how that looks....any ideas or should I go more neutral?

Jan 29, 13 2:59 pm
ms. medici

So just to be clear, you're planning to apply for the 2014/2015 school year, not the 2013/2014 one?

Many of the schools you mentioned are well into the admissions process (if not already finished) for the 2013/2014 year.

Jan 30, 13 12:08 am

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