Outstanding MArch Portfolios

Picking up from the drama that went here: (and all other threads related to portfolio), many come on here in Archinect to post, share and ask for feedback for their MArch portfolios and chances of getting into grad school. I hope in this thread, successful MArch applicants, graduates, admissions committee/staff can share samples, tips, and other information for young and innocent hopefuls who are preparing for grad/postgrad school. 

Jan 11, 18 11:50 am

Where's the fun in that ;)

But seriously, that would be really helpful.

Jan 11, 18 1:59 pm

Your insights would be of help! :)


I never had to make a portfolio to get into an M.Arch program. My insights are simply personal preferences developed through years of making publications, portfolios and presentations and their contents for different purposes; from academic, theoretic to practical or only the graphic design, illustrations and infographics. And from all that I can conclude that I hate silly infographics to show some kind of imaginary software proficiency the absolute most, oh that and headshots, and too many or too little typefaces in the wrong sizes, and when things don't align when they should or do align when they shouldn't, or a wrong use of colour, too many distractions or too little variation. And bad projects don't really help either.


The problem with posting excellent portfolios is that plagiarism of the content really fucks with admissions. 

Here’s what happens:

Amanda has a spectacular portfolio, so good in fact that it will get her into any school she chooses. She posts it online.

Brian downloads/screen captures her work. He changes the relevant information to hhis own and submits this superportfolio to his list of schools. If he knows where she applied, he omits those programs. If not, he crosses his fingers that maybe different people will see it this time. 

So since Amanda’s work is that good, Brian of course gets admitted to a top school and is offered substantial merit-based funding. He accepts and attends this elite program. Once he gets there one of three things happens to Brian: he gets caught and expelled; he doesn’t get caught but drops out because he can’t remotely keep up with his peers or the expectations of his teachers; or he muddles through and barely finishes. 

If he gets caught, suddenly the validity of Amanda’s work is called into question. Maybe she can easily prove what’s hers, but until she does, she has to face the completely unfair suspicion of those investigating Brian’s bullshit. And even after she is completely exonerated she is asked questions like “Why did you post your portfolio online?”

If he doesn’t get caught, he takes a place in the program away from Caroline, whose portfolio was her own. She was right on the bubble of acceptance and would have been admitted if not for Brian jumping ahead of her. Caroline is also screwed over if he gets caught and expelled (or drops out because he can’t hack it), because it’s not like there’s a rolling wait list to fill his spot. His place remains empty until the following year.

Faculty have now wasted time admitting and attempting to teach an unqualified applicant, other students have had their share of crit time reduced by someone who should never have been there, the pool of funding for honest applicants has to be reconsidered (and excellent admitted applicants may have chosen another program because their resulting funding offer wasn’t competitive), and a qualified student was unfairly denied admission.

This is of course an extreme scenario, but variations of it are not at all uncommon. Some parts of the world have very different views on authorship than we do in the US, and wildly plagiarized (or purchased) application portfolios get terrible students into excellent schools every single year.

Jan 12, 18 10:25 am
Non Sequitur

tangential question... but do students today outsource to render farms for sexier imagery?


20+ years ago, I was in grad school at an Ivy League school. One of my work study jobs was in the admissions office, and I logged all of the incoming applications in. Back then you sent in a hard copy of your portfolio (yes, I'm old), so I got to look through every portfolio they got. One application from abroad was 100% projects from Machado/Silvetti, with no alterations. I assume the applicant thought that the work somehow would not be known to anyone.


That's why I can't post my portfolios here placebeyond_


I’m sure there are some students that pay for third-party renderings, though that would be cost-prohibitive for most. Considering the old tradition of “hiring” undergrads to help with thesis projects, etc., doing so doesn’t seem out of bounds, especially since the design is ostensibly original work.


While I'm reminiscing, I also knew a guy who applied to all the Ivy's, and didn't get into any of them.  He decided to take a year off from work to focus on his portfolio.  I was dumbstruck that that was an option, but hey, his parents were rich.  His strategy worked, he went to Harvard, and is now successful in academia.

Jan 12, 18 12:31 pm

How is this relevant to the discussion?


Hmmm, I guess it's no more/less relevant than, oh I don't know, pointing out that some students may pay for 3rd party renderings, no?


The third party renderings question has a clear connection to a discussion of content authorship. An anecdote about some rich dude does not.


This isn't really worth arguing about, but to me having yourself said that hiring a renderer isn't "out of bounds" if it's your work being rendered. I agree. It does mean that you have the $ to hire them, which gives you an advantage, just like having $ to take a year to work on your portfolio gives you an advantage over those working at night/weekends on their portfolio while working full time.

Non Sequitur

I think out-sourcing any work related to your portfolio is a total no-no. So yes, totally relevant. Just like I automatically dismiss people who take unpaid interships, I would dismiss students with out-sourced work equally. Do your own work, damn lazy kids.


I’m sure many of your colleagues and professors had undergrads/first year grad students help with thesis production (and they probably helped others before that). Would you dismiss all that outsourced work?


Yes, having financial resources is pretty much universally an advantage in everything. Astute observation, gold star. It’s still a huge stretch to link that very obvious reality
to a conversation about plagiarism.

Non Sequitur

Splines, outsourcing was not even a thing back when I was in school unless you had a physical disability (hurrah for hand drawing and physical model flashback).


Good for you? Just because it didn’t happen at your school doesn’t mean it didn’t happen anywhere.


I recall there was some dude bragging about how excellent his was. So much so that I almost believed his was displayed at the MoMA.

Jan 12, 18 2:56 pm
jpeg dot jpeg

Here are a few portfolios that have been posted on here in the past that I've looked at. I don't know if they're excellent because I have yet to be accepted but I certainly found them informative. No harm in sharing what's already been shared, right guys?

(In no particular order)







I'm considering posting my own portfolio soon, but thanks to this discussion I'll be adding watermarks to every page.

Jan 29, 18 2:56 pm



I like this one from a post last week thought it was interesting:

Jan 30, 18 12:08 pm

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