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2014 M.Arch Applicants Portfolio Review Thread

Nov 27 '13 82 Last Comment
insomniarch
Nov 27, 13 2:30 pm

Alright so let's start this out. This is Draft # 3 of my portfolio for M.Arch II programs. I have a few renders that need to be photoshopped still and a couple of drawings I want to rework, but the majority of the work is done. 

http://issuu.com/joshuasmith96/docs/joshua_smith_portfolio_issue

All crits, comments, etc. are welcome. Post yours and keep the thread going.

 

Roshi
Nov 27, 13 3:27 pm

Applying for M.Arch 1. This has to be draft #7 or so:

http://issuu.com/garypkp88/docs/architecture_is_experience_m.arch_a

insomniarch:

Very nice portfolio! I would think it would flow better if you played with the typography a little more. Try making your large paragraphs a gray as opposed to straight up black, maybe ~70% or so (as in my portfolio). It helps give hierarchy to your actual drawings/photos, and makes the paragraphs a little easier on the eyes (could be a subconscious thing). Your captions could stay black though, to differentiate them from the paragraphs.

Also those renderings in the end are gorgeous. I understand that they are just rendering exercises - if only they had a little more context.. a sentences or maybe a little horizontal diagram (all diagrams in a similar style) explaining how you got to that rendering.

24arches
Nov 27, 13 4:17 pm

You two have fine work but let some of the images and drawings breathe. They're packed together as if you were paid by the diagram.

@insomniarch

Table of contents really small, could easily miss it. For the narrative page, take out the "is" in the first sentence and let the definition flow like a definition. Shorter, more concise--I'd just end it after "...presented to the reader" without comma. I don't know about the QR code...and your narrative is really hard to read when the text is so condensed and small. The grey box distracts from the nice rendering so consider making it a bit more translucent. The patent page is neat but needs some sort of border since it looks awkward just placed like that.

Overall, you can probably take out one project and use the extra space to let things roam freely. It's very uptight right now, more like scholastic paper than narrative (which I assume is supposed to be more story-like and humane). Overall fun stuff. 

@Roshi

I'd probably add another page or reconsider where your name/info is at the beginning. I almost missed it and the title should be bolded all the way through--that's the emphasis to set the mood for things to come. Neat table of contents that deserve room for each portion, whatever you call those parts. 

For the experience [...] [...] textual part, work with the transparency levels a bit more. If you have to print it in a book, print a copy now and see. scoopGolf makes me think scoop is the name and latter the activity but ToC says the whole thing is one nomenclature. Some of the words bolded make sense while others don't seem all that important.

Your prism project is neat but it's too much content on one page. As I already said, let the pages and projects breathe. Unless you're limited to pages which I don't think would be at exactly 34 sides, weigh the possibility of focusing on fewer projects as opposed to cramming in one more. The end picture of that wooden structure should be the first one. 

Tried to give about equal amount of comments to both of you. Best of luck.

camhard
Nov 28, 13 3:18 am

Good looking portfolios, and thanks for starting the thread insomniarch.

 

Here is my almost first draft: http://issuu.com/camhard/docs/portfolio_draft_1_131126

 

A few images left out as they aren't up to snuff. Will update the issuu file as I have more refined versions.

YVVNG
Dec 1, 13 4:44 am

Applying for M.Arch 1:

http://issuu.com/las_vegas_city_center_analysis/docs/new_portfolio_1test__1-23_

some critique on my portfolio (or a fake confidence boost before I submit apps) would be greatly appreciated. 

 

 

also plan to add two more small projects in there, and i know the grammar in the descriptions will probably be off (haven't edited those in-depth yet) but overall commentary on the layout and etc. would be great. also don't have a title page yet, but it'll probably be just text.  

 

have a undergrad degree in architecture (4 year program). cumulative gpa: 3.04

gre's came out to 

verbal: 148

quantitative: 153

essay we'll say 4 or 5 (don't know yet, but feel like i did pretty good)

the programs im really interested in (and would heavily consider re-applying again next year if i dont get into) are UCLA and Sci-arc.

 

also for fun if i have a real shot at some big name schools (harvard and columbia and etc.) id like to go for it, but i know my gre's are low and can hold me back (i believe harvard wants a 157 minimim in both categories) do you guys still think i should go for those programs or im just literally handing em money for the apps and nothing more lol. 

24arches
Dec 1, 13 5:34 am

UCLA wants a physical book, which is going to cut through all of your spreads. Consider the margins and gutter when choosing a publishing service. Maybe you intend to do a landscape but from the looks of the PDF template, there would still be a crease running through the middle of everything even then. Do plan out how long they might take to print and ship because deadlines are rapidly approaching and this is when they're be busier than normal due to end of terms.

If you want to go horizontal, then go horizontal. Lay out the plans on pg.11-12 horizontally, moving that rendering to the top. Some of the flow is a bit jarring because it is basically two imaginary paths I have to follow back and forth. Think about guiding the eyes from concept to development smoothly instead of render to process to diagram and then back.

The grey title text boxes don't do anything for me. Neither does the rendering with text overlay that feels unprofessional and Powerpoint-esque. Rather see that model of the SF project than the rendering as the initial hook image; the war memorial looks surprisingly tranquil for the intended effect (which makes the transparent soldiers easy to gloss over). Some narration on the intro project pages might help one immediately connect to your initial concept.

Good luck. On a somewhat eccentric note: think of every page and glance of the eye as having meaning. Sometimes these layouts are structured like boring essays culminating into some assumed grand meaning of life or project but each element by itself must also be significant so as to coalesce into something collectively greater. 

spqr
Dec 1, 13 10:30 am

you spelled M.Arch wrong

aurevoirshoshanna
Dec 1, 13 1:39 pm

Applying for M.Arch 1. This is the most recent draft I've uploaded: http://issuu.com/sgarcia6/docs/grad_school_portfolio_test_11_9_13

I've already made changes to this since then, but nothing too far off from the current layout and project info. I still have 2 more projects to add, as well as art examples, then finally the table of contents and make sure all the text is okay. I also intend to update a couple of the renderings shown. 

All criticism is welcome and much appreciated! I've asked a couple people irl to take a look, but it's either been very superficial feedback or they haven't had the time.

snail
Dec 1, 13 3:55 pm

@aurevoirshoshanna - your portfolio takes too long to ramp up. The map at the beginning is unnecessary - if you keep it combine it with your table of contents. Then I get a big block of text taking up a whole page and some tiny diagrams before I see a building. Indeed right now it seems like the whole portfolio is mostly a bunch of tiny drawings competing with each other (also a problem which I have with my own portfolio right now), so I would make some of them larger and in hierarchy over the others to give the document more of a flow.

YVVNG
Dec 1, 13 5:43 pm

@24arches

first of all thanks for all the feedback! I think you brought a lot of good points i overlooked (know what you mean with the flow, and how it could throw readers off) as far as the spread style, ive seen a few portfolios that were able to pull off perspectives and diagrams going across the binding, but this is still something I need to finalize in physical form.

lol @ me for spelling M. Arch wrong 

and aurevoirshoshanna i agree with snail, alotta images are fighting each other for attention, just remember people don't need to see everything you did during the project, this was hard for me to grasp at first but theres a good amount of background work that no-one will ever see (but people can still tell the amount of work you put in to the project from the final outcome). 

24arches
Dec 1, 13 7:40 pm

@YVVNG

You can definitely pull it off but physical books have limitations. There are physical borders you just cannot pass lest you want cutoff pages and lost text/images. Usually about a half-inch on all sides to account for the trim also. Not necessarily your fault but probably the disparity of working with technology and PDFs that pretty much scale itself without enforcing these old-world print rules. My tip for future reference is to skim through design/art books in lieu of these online PDF portfolios for layout ideas.

@aurevoirshoshanna

Chunks of white space in contrast to full pages with tiny text. There's a lot of things I would not read (too small or long) even if you spent five hours writing. Writing should be brief and concise--anyone can keep rambling but it takes skill and focus to pare down. The map on the first page is interesting but it doesn't seem to have a compelling story behind. Thought the timeline meant something but it's way too long in scale for the end result. 

arifj
Dec 2, 13 1:06 am

This portfolio draft isn't final...as you can see the table of contents still has room for two more projects to be added. But the layout is pretty close to done, and most of the content is fairly final, except for adding some diagrams or retouching some renders here and there.

This portfolio is aimed for M. Arch 1, since I am in a Bachelors of Arts in Architecture 4 year degree, finishing up in May 2014. 

http://issuu.com/arifj/docs/arif_final

24arches
Dec 2, 13 1:56 am

Only your last two projects feel complete. Moneybox isn't the most compelling project out of the bunch for it to be the opener.

You have plenty of time. Work on the remaining projects instead of worrying about layout issues so far ahead of schedule. Didn't see any concepts, sketches, or straight-forward reasons why any of these projects matter to you or me. If your overall central message is language, then something got lost in translation. 

yanafish
Dec 2, 13 9:24 pm

Thanks for starting this thread! 

I'm applying for M.Arch II and MS programs. Here is a portfolio draft I've done so far. There're three more projects that I'm still working on, but comments and advices on the draft are greatly appreciated.

http://issuu.com/haoliportfolio/docs/haoli_portfolio03

I put two pages in one PDF. That's why the layout looks off on ISSUU. (also, the photo on the back cover will be eliminated in the final version.)

Roshi
Dec 2, 13 10:58 pm

Yana,

Nice material. I'm assuming your PDF page order is uploaded incorrectly to Issue - you should start new projects on the left side of the spread, or at-least try not to mix them (page 24-26, you're missing page 5 and page 25 so I'm thinking you had that blank page there already).

I'll echo what 24arches said about my own portfolio, and I think this might apply to yours too: too much stuff going on per page. I'd prefer to see more large "moneyshot" images, like on page 12 and 30. These kept my attention much more than the little diagrams, which could use some hierarchy.

Your page numbers need to change. They are very hard to see, thin white text on light-colored background is going to frustrate people. Also, I don't think you need to repeat your last name on every page, it feels redundant.

Your content looks great, but the last 2-3 pages "Art and Sketches" feel thrown in. The layouts don't have the same flow that the rest of your portfolio keeps, so maybe try to rearrange stuff around or take out that section altogether (your portfolio is long enough and proving enough as it is, so showing them watercolors, I think, might not help you all that much).

Great stuff overall. I don't know when your deadlines are, but most of the schools I know of are wanting these things in by Dec. 15th, 31st, or sometime in January, so be sure to plan ahead and know how long the printing process will take (for those who need printed versions, which will require a lot of reformatting for margins) and how long the shipping process will take. I'm using Blurb for my stuff so I'm sending my portfolios out for printing tonight, which will be shipped back to me in a week or so, and will need to be shipped to various schools after that, so I'll be cutting it close myself.

Good luck everyone!

Roshi
Dec 2, 13 11:41 pm

A nice image I found online, this should help some people of what not to do. I know its sometimes hard to notice illegibility in your design work when you are the one who created it, and thus understand it.

camhard
Dec 4, 13 3:50 am

What are peoples' thoughts on including a bio-type graphic in portfolios? For example, @aurevoirshoshanna has a map and timeline, at the beginning.

I have travelled a fair bit, and briefly gloss over this in my letter of intent. The portfolio might be an opportunity to show a bit more: where I have been and what I have done, etc.. My concern is that when people view the portfolio, they are looking for projects, as they've already seen, or will see the CV and letter of intent, so more "this is me and this is why i'm awesome" might be frustrating???

 

It would be 1-2 pages, max. I am thinking of just tiling images on one page, and maybe having a basic diagram of some kind on the other (gantt chart, perhaps?). See the link for a rough-in of what I am thinking. (Note: 'Victoria Infill' and 'Epilog Skis' sections aren't quite done, but the rest are more or less there, if you look at the rest of the portfolio).

 

http://issuu.com/camhard/docs/portfolio_draft_2_131203

 

Thanks!

snail
Dec 4, 13 4:58 am

Camhard - I think that one way to do that is to show your experiences through your work - ie. if you traveled, did you produce any travel sketches? That's what I did, and I think that they have always been well-received. To me the idea of making a chart/infographic of yourself just seems like you would be trying too hard to be trendy and thus actually make you stand out less as an individual.

The introduction to your portfolio is already kind of long - I don't know if people have told you this before when your portfolio was previously posted for critique, but having two tables of contents feels really redundant.

snail
Dec 4, 13 5:14 am

@Hao Li -
Having an introduction to your project on the same page as your contents is awkward.

The concepts seem kind of weak - for example, WHY is it a good idea to make Boston more like a mountain? You don't explain that. Some of your sketches, however, are interesting. I would worry that some of your diagrams are too obviously copying BIG. And a lot of the work seems kind of generic and corporate. Thinking cynically, it would probably be a slam dunk for Yale and then SOM, but I am not as sure about somewhere else.

The sketches and paintings that you have are nice as a contrast to that type of work - do you have more art that you could include? For some reason I particularly like having the shoe in there since it's an unexpected jump to a more personal/domestic scale after we have gone through your skyscrapers etc. - maybe you should play up that contrast?

The canyon photographs, on the other hand, are completely generic and look like they could have come off a stock photography site. The photographs of leaves are filler at best.

Some of your pages might benefit from more hierarchy (ex a few larger images to stand out amongst your many smaller ones), but I would be wary about making most of your renderings any bigger since realistic renderings would carry the danger of making the generic/clinical-seeming aspects of your work more prominent.

24arches
Dec 4, 13 6:54 am

We're on different sides here but bio charts/infographics can be pretty interesting if done right. Having said that, graphic design is an entire discipline in itself and without much training, one should not attempt to put together something cheap and cheesy in a pinch. It won't impress anyone and insults designers who labor over quality work---same deal with students pulling together projects in a day and try to pass it their best work in contrast to their peers who spent weeks.

mwpetri
Dec 4, 13 7:04 pm

Hi,

I'm applying for M.Arch I programs and could use some feedback on my portfolio. I haven't finished it and I'm still adding to it, however if you could give me feedback on what I have that would be great!

Thanks!

http://issuu.com/margaretehlers-petri/docs/portfolio_petri_draft2

24arches
Dec 4, 13 8:21 pm

Cover doesn't need to be complicated but you don't seem all that confident with that current page.

As the documentary Helvetica states as the power of the font, this is Zumthor's book. Period. (oh geez, i hope that is helvetica)

Swap the vase for the green bowl. One draws the eye while the other is just there. Sketch on pg. 7 is unclear. I see it's a copy but maybe you could redraw it or vectorize it. Original papers don't necessarily mean more than the original and your idea is still true to that even if redrawn. Wearable works photos look much better on the model than by itself. I'd just do a spread with model shots and drop the white backdrop (which seem a bit fuzzy). Consistent layout image size is important--even a bit off is noticeable due to the white background and the way each image frames itself.

Space Within Space--omit the parentheses statement. It's likely my own peeve but seeing a bunch of I's in a single paragraph sounds dull and lifeless--but again, probably just my own quirk. For your art, they should stand on their own and it works better if you had a shorter overall message and then let the viewer absorb themselves into the art. First page of sketches isn't that good compared to the other artistic works--they seem tacked on except for the police mug shot. 

I had John Pawson's Minimum next to me and took some quick shots for visual reference. 

Font and size, plus position. It's based on a typical museum style and very clean, which should help your images stand out on their own. Balance the pages out and ask yourself if framed, would you want the image to fill entirely or have some border around?

An idea for the table of contents since yours is similar but lacking finesse:

All in the way font is organized. You can get away with black bold titles and regular subtitles. 

Good start. 

acetaminophen
Dec 5, 13 10:45 am

@24arches - Your constant critiques on this thread are much appreciated--keeps the flow going. Are you applying this year too? I suspect there will be more portfolio posts for sharing after the deadlines have passed.

@mwpetri - You should think of your portfolio as an art gallery in book form. I think it would be really beautiful if the text (summaries, labels) took the backseat sometimes so that the viewer has a chance to see and interpret the art.

--

And here is mine so far - http://issuu.com/amyhu0/docs/120313_amyhu

Some notes - the pages aren't meant to be viewed as spreads, so it'll look funny sometimes (this can be remedied by switching to single page mode: open the portfolio to full screen, and then click on the icon in the top navigation bar that looks like two pages stacked on top of each other). You'll see stuff like a gray box labeled "site panorama"--just a reminder to myself to add more photos. I'm still in the process of adding a lot more site context, as well as refining what goes where and how many pages some of the projects are worth. Feedback and first impressions are welcome. I use concrete a lot, I know... must've been that concrete building in which I spent all my time in undergrad :]

24arches
Dec 5, 13 11:27 am

I'm applying next year. Not trained in architecture speak so excuse my informal ways to describe things. 

As previously noted, I probably just have many personal peeves but images that extend to the very edge of a page seem to lose their sense of space. Images themselves are already delimited by the camera sensor and layout boundary box so to extend it without actually providing any more sensory data feels incomplete. False sense of anticipation when the images are small--the frameless layout looks better with a full-blown scene that sort of disappears in the background as it immerses the viewer in.

Diagram on first project is too convoluted. I could probably imagine focusing on one but not both, especially when they're packed together. Nice diagrams but then there are white spaces and my reaction is the same when it comes to portfolios and Powerpoint: enlarge accordingly when space is present. 

Second project a bit cryptic. Don't see what the renderings convey since at first glance, we have no idea what the project is about. So there are two ways (probably more but go with it): enlarge a scene that gives a distant, overall view or make it so the reader wants to continue. Intrigue them to the point of temptation or clarify as best you can. Oops, watch the margins! The corner of that white line diagram was cut off (not sure if intentional or not).

Project 3 feels like something you put together in a pinch---there are far better options towards the end that only take up one page and provide the same level of intrigue. Watch the extra space floating around. I'd move one of those renderings in project #4 to the first few pages and reposition the process drawings. Ending was abrupt--seek closure or something that transitions the mind out and away. 

Don't take these comments personal---sometimes I add stuff that I otherwise forgot before. Hope they as a whole add value or are things to think about later.  

Web, print, whatever, they're all visual mediums. Don't think I have anything right now on margins but if you set a small one, say .25 inches, it'll apply a consistent edge so you have the benefit of uniformity throughout even with the infinity extension (no idea what it's technically called). 

insomniarch
Dec 5, 13 1:56 pm

@acetaminophen Your portfolio is coming along nicely. I think I met you at Columbia's open house. Good luck on your applications.

acetaminophen
Dec 5, 13 2:29 pm

@24arches - Thank you! No worries, I'm too far in (with this portfolio and with the field of architecture) to take criticism personally. I mean, you have your sources and everything too :P Do you study graphic design?

I've been staring at my work for so long--it's easy to forget the fact that people on the admissions committee will be seeing this for the first time. But they'll be bored, too, because they've seen it all already, after flipping through hundreds of other portfolios. The images have to be 1) interesting enough on their own to catch people's attention, 2) cohesive when placed on a page with other images, and 3) informative enough to tell the narrative of a project without relying on text. That's what I've learned :] Good luck when you apply. 

@insomniarch - Yes, hello, and thank you! It did not click that I knew you when I flipped through your portfolio earlier, but now I remember--did you end up having a good time on the bus? :]

Best of luck to you. Will write a little about your portfolio later--it's looking good too!

24arches
Dec 5, 13 3:08 pm

Undergraduate degree was Interior Design but I dabbled in a bunch of related things. Knew long ago that I needed a Master's degree for architecture so took the time to explore whatever peaked my interest before fully committing to the profession. 

I can't say anyone on the admissions committee would necessarily be bored but they might get blurry-eyed since many take a similar approach to laying out their body of work. Nothing bad but nothing too memorable (thousands of similar pages flipped through) so the individuals are lost in the sea of renderings and flow diagrams. 

lumiere
Dec 7, 13 12:20 pm

I am applying for the G30 program at the University of Tokyo. Here is my portfolio, any kind of feedback much appreciated. Especially if you know the program.

http://issuu.com/thomastait/docs/portfolio

best of luck to every applicant!

Roshi
Dec 7, 13 2:05 pm

Lumiere,

Holy shit. That's unique work. Literally my only comment would be to rephrase your "about me" paragraph, at least the first sentence. Instead of "Originally Italian," I would say "While my origins lie in Italy, ..." or, if you were, "Born and raised in Italy, ..." Originally Italian makes it sound like you changed your roots/origins. Its a small thing but I think it makes an impression.

Just curious what about UTokyo appeals to you? I don't know very much about the school.

mwpetri
Dec 8, 13 2:07 am

@ arches24, thank you for your feedback! It was super helpful. I made some changes and added some stuff, still working on a cover for the portfolio. 

And thank you to acetaminophen too for the feedback!

Please let me know what you all think of this version. Thanks!

http://issuu.com/margaretehlers-petri/docs/portfolio_petri_draft4

24arches
Dec 8, 13 2:59 pm

What font are you using? The bold text doesn't pop enough to stand out from the regular font. Structure works.

mwpetri
Dec 8, 13 4:10 pm

Optima for the text. I'll try adjusting the size then. Thanks!

mwpetri
Dec 8, 13 6:16 pm

Does the statement on page 2 seem good? I felt like needed to explain how I think my skills in metals and painting will translate to architecture. 

SpatialSojourner
Dec 8, 13 6:51 pm

mwpetri, page numbers would be helpful in your portfolio.

You're missing some commas.  It should read, "The object, like the structure, serves many...". Also, do you mean interdisciplinary instead of indispliary?

Style wise, do you want the paragraph to have words hyphenated?  My personal preference is in inDesign to  uncheck the hyphenate box in the text toolbox so words don't get cut apart. 

To finally answer your question, I think that including how different crafts and fine arts have informed architectural design from the first cultures to now-a-days would be beneficial.

aurevoirshoshanna
Dec 8, 13 8:49 pm

mwpetri - a couple things in passing:

- the cover should read M.ARCH 1

- I'd recommend a simpler, cleaner font. The one you have now is fairly similar to papyrus which is the architectural equivalent of comic sans.

- Concerning the kit for the evening diagram, perhaps play with the line weights a bit more, and make sure you're consistent with your rules. For instance the lines used to depict your 3" hand made hinges are thicker than the lines for your 5" hand made hinges when you'd expect them to be the same.  

Other than that, you're definitely on the right track!

24arches
Dec 8, 13 9:37 pm

Optima isn't bad but it doesn't fit her layout (humanist shapes collide with the structured layout). I'd use something like Gill Sans or Frutiger if Helvetica is out--Open Sans if none of those licensed ones are available. Keep it simple. 

SpatialSojourner
Dec 8, 13 10:12 pm

Google Fonts is a good place to find the perfect free font.  The upper right-hand button allows you to download them (select download as a zip when the pop up says you don't need to download to use on a website).  Lato is my personal favorite since it comes in hairline, light, regular, bold, black.  Although I do like Segoe as well.  

I think out of everything the cover needs the most help.  It can be minimal but it looks totally imbalanced. 

The second thing I'd work on is coming up for a system for the margins.  Some things go full page, other images look to be able to go full page but are kept with margins.  In my portfolio I play with the margins but compositionally it looks balanced.  (I wish that I would have kept margins so it'd be easier to print [have to print on 12x18 and trim down to 11x17 spreads] but I like it aesthetically to go full page) 

polarcracker
Dec 8, 13 11:40 pm

Hi,

I'm applying for M.Arch I programs and here's my portfolio. Any comments are welcome!

http://issuu.com/polarcracker/docs/folio2.1

Good luck to everyone!

Thanks!

kadam-patil
Dec 9, 13 6:17 am

hi polarcracker nice portfolio and extra ordinary sketches ,are u from a fine art background?

60403020
Dec 14, 13 3:19 pm

After a bit of an academic furlough, I'm returning back to school.

Pretty stoked/nervous to get back into the swing of it.

Good luck to fellow 2014  applicants.

http://issuu.com/calvin_maas/docs/graduate_admissions_portfolio

24arches
Dec 14, 13 4:26 pm

When is your deadline? Don't want to suggest something only to have you dwell over things and scramble to finish on time.

camhard
Dec 14, 13 5:37 pm

@60403020 just one quick thought: because some work is built, and some is not, I would make it very clear which projects fall into each category. you seem to be calling some renders "photography", which makes it seem like you are trying to pass off speculative work as built... apologies if this assumption is wrong.

jso1226
Dec 20, 13 9:23 pm

Hello, i'm a senior in undergrad applying to m.arch 1 programs without relevant arch background... and this is my very first portfolio draft... I am still working on it and I would appreciate any helpful advices.

http://issuu.com/sunajoung/docs/portfolio_draft_4a15249b33d78c

Thank you.

24arches
Dec 20, 13 11:45 pm

Your pictures look blurry. Cover shot is blurry. Grainy and without focus zooming in, which worsens as the portfolio pages fill the entire screen.

The font choice doesn't distinguish itself from sub-header and body. On a few pages, the abnormal size of the caption takes focus away from the image. When aligning pictures, make sure they're the same height when going across a spread. You might want to reconsider where images are placed because the page gutter cuts through some of them at the worst places--a simple reorganization can resolve it. 

Condense the photo projects. Could cut like ten pages out and not feel so tiresome flipping through shot after shot. Can you possibly scan or retake the photos from the visual journal project? Or at the very least retake them from the same angle so they're consistent across the pages.

placebeyondthesplines
Dec 22, 13 3:05 am

@jso1226

I don't know where you're applying, but frankly, I think you should take another year to work on this portfolio. The drawings are very weak, the models are lacking in craft, the photographs are boring, and the portfolio itself is very poorly constructed. 

I would be very surprised if this portfolio got you admitted to any graduate program that requires a portfolio for admission.

Also your link was broken. http://issuu.com/sunajoung/docs/portfolio_draft2

24arches
Dec 22, 13 4:41 am

Two different links. What you linked tonight is newer than what I saw yesterday.

Her body of work at this point is what it is. Looking through it and considering the background and presumably limited exposure to design courses, it's more or less in line with what are expected of real traditional non-architecture applicants. Layout improved somewhat from previous draft but I don't expect things to be fixed because frankly, it isn't easy arranging content. People with design backgrounds have problems with it so it's a skill to master over time.

-change of addressee-

I couldn't extract a unifying message from the portfolio. Maybe the statement of intent has a clear goal or reason to pursue architecture but little inside indicates a clear driving motivator. I'm going to second placebeyondthesplines and suggest delaying applications for another year. Take the time from now until then to collect your thoughts. I'm going to say this is a hastily assembled portfolio assembled to meet the deadline, seeing projects from Fall 2013 are tossed in. Odds are not in your favor considering the reviewers will only see one project and a bunch of photos and art mixed in. We know you can draw and sketch and have an eye for the world but why architecture? Why this and not urban planning? You mention cities so there's a starting point; pretty sure the dancer's movements can inspire some fluid conceptual design. Graduate school is going to hit you hard if you lack experience drawing plans and working the gritty details. Sketches are nice and all but that's just one part of the long process. 

If you're rushing into grad school to avoid future uncertainty and discontinuity in whatever life path you have in mind, think it over. A year later than expected is nothing to fret over. You'll likely be a better applicant and future student too.

zy11kair
Dec 23, 13 12:41 pm

Wish I have found this forum earlier! 

I am applying to MUD programs starting next fall. Have a B.Arch background and a year work experience. 

I know the deadlines are approaching in about a week, but I would still appreciate any suggestions or comments :-) It's also a great way to make friends and knowing that you are not alone:-) 

link:  http://issuu.com/phoebezhang/docs/gradappportfolio_zhang_20131124_sc_

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

placebeyondthesplines
Dec 23, 13 9:26 pm

@zy11kair

First off, really nice work. 

The only suggestion I have for you is that some (not all) of your pages are a little congested with content. You might see about adding a few more spreads here and there to let the images breathe a little more.

Where are you applying?

placebeyondthesplines
Dec 23, 13 9:42 pm

@60403020

Some nicely presented projects in here, but as a portfolio it needs a bit of work.

Major:

I would take out the Saint Luke's project altogether. It's the first thing reviewers will see, and it's the most boring project of the bunch. Similarly, the On the Boards spread isn't contributing anything to the portfolio other than making the last pages (the most fresh in reviewers minds) more dull.

Minor:

The title is contrived and unnecessary. The cover is completely baffling as an introduction to an architecture portfolio; I get that it's the site of a project, but the image (content, composition, color, all of it) is not compelling at all, and you'd be better off making the cover much cleaner. 

The typography throughout is questionable. Nothing wrong with serif fonts, but whatever you're using here looks really unsophisticated. I'd recommend looking up some basic graphic design guidelines with regard to type. This would make a huge difference.

jso1226
Dec 23, 13 10:15 pm

@24arches and placebeyondthepines

Thank you for you guys' inputs. I do agree that I need more time. I have taken one art class in college and rest of the works are from studying abroad where I could actually take architecture classes. Although I am not applying to grad schools because of uncertainty and i do want to pursue architecture and wanted to start right after college. At the same time, I have been hesitating about the decision as well as I was frustrated with my own portfolio. I wanted to do my best with what i have now anyhow. What could be some of the best ways to navigate in improving my portfolio? Taking more art classes? Also how do you even know if you have a potential...? The one and only architecture professor at my liberal arts college said it looks great and that is all he said... So i would appreciate any sincere advices.

Thank you and happy holidays!

placebeyondthesplines
Dec 24, 13 1:17 am

@jso1226

Well, you take criticism exceptionally well, which is incredibly important in architecture school, and I really appreciate your clear motivation to make your portfolio stronger.

Since it appears that you don't have a lot of visual background, you might really benefit from a program like LAIAD, or to a lesser extent, one of the summer intro programs like Career Discovery at Harvard's GSD, Intro to Architecture at GSAPP, Summer Academy at UT Austin, or [IN]ARCH at Berkeley (there are many of these programs, but these are the first few I could think of).

They would help you to refine your skills, learn valuable new ones, and give you some nicely curated content for an application portfolio.

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