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portfolio review + advice

meganattor

So this post might be a bit long
tl;dr:
please give your insights towards my portfolio

my portfolio

After lurking and seeing some portfolio review threads on here i think i can preemptively post the major criticisms that are posted here that apply to my portfolio: 

  1. Doesn't show progression of thought process 
  2. Too many renders, not enough hand drawn sketches
  3. Not enough white space (too Overcrowded) 
  4. Not enough explanation as to the requirements for the projects themselves
  5. a picture in the C.V. page (the page is just bad and needs to be redone, leaving out the point system for skills and such)
  6. the first project's plans aren't actually plans
  7. the last three pages lol

I'm sure there's more but i'd like to hear you opinions on anything that i have stated and on the many things i have not stated.

Some comments on one of the points though, the issue with progression of thought process is a deep issue that I have with the school itself and the clusterfuck that was the organisation of the projects. Example: the second project, the "beksawi compound", started as 2 residential buildings. 2 weeks into the projects "lets add a mall lol". Each week after that a new item was added, and the given land to build on was increased. Week 3 was "instead of 2 we need 15 residential buildings lol". Week 4 was "yeah instead of a max of 12 floors, its now 4+G so redo everything, also we need a post office, a hospital and a country club lol" on the evening before the project was due a friend told me that the professors had included a mosque and kindergarten and just didn't tell anyone etc. This applies to all the projects.

also my degree is a 5 year architecture program which makes me licensed in Egypt, so should i apply for the 2 year programs or the 3 year programs? I currently reside in Canada and would like to continue doing so. i applied last year to 4 programs (2 year M.arch) but got accepted to non.

Thank you for your time

 
Sep 5, 18 12:36 pm
10974ks---

if you already know why post...

Sep 5, 18 12:58 pm
meganattor

the list of issues with my portfolio is very long, and as always time is short, so I will take a consensus of the replies as to the most pressing issues and try to correct them, also there may be things that I simply don't see, also there are things that I perceive as being good, when in fact they are not. so I would be very interested in hearing your opinion of the most pressing issues with my portfolio my friend.

10974ks---

If you think anything in here is good your delusional

meganattor

thus we reach the reason as to why I'm posting on a forum online, but I would ask a more detailed analysis of my work, unless it seems to be so bad I should simply give up on the profession?
im not sure of my architecture, but i am sure of my art but the financial returns of a career in art is suspicious at best. 

Non Sequitur

So, are you saying you've actually searched the forums prior to posting?  Gold star for you.  I don't think this has ever been done before.  8-)

From a quick glance, I'd say too many glossy renderings is a problem.  As you noted, there are missing progress sketches as well as crisp and readable elevation/plan/construction details.  Content is also suspiciously missing and certainly would help give some of the projects some life.  Besides that, more white space and less crowding of images.

In regards to Canadian graduate school, please note that you will obviously require an accredited M.arch and as a foreign student, there are some school and programs that are out of reach.  That said, plenty of schools have 3y M.Arch well suited for your situation.  Carleton U for one would likely be a good choice given you have an Ottawa. On area code listed on the CV page.


Sep 5, 18 1:15 pm
meganattor

Its almost incredible what one may achieve with the search option and 5 minutes of reading time, also thanks for the gold star.

also the enter button simply adds the comment instead of going to the next line which is annoying. 

so:
1.decrease renders, increase info-graph like drawings to more clrealy represent the parts of the project?
2. either add crisp plans (im at 23 pages so an extra 2 pages for plans is reasonable i think) or remove rendered plans and then add plans
3. remove some renders to increase visual fidelity and better organise
4.apply to the 3 year masters, should i also apply to the 2 year programs? or will it be a waste of time, i dream of going to McGill but i think that is a bit far reaching.
also Carleton is on the top of my list as my sister goes there for architecture as well, i have heard the program is no the best but of course my undergrad is a severely hampers my prospects

meganattor

also from what i gather you seem to be quite honest, even if some people think it coarse.
on a 1-10 scale of people my age in the profession where am i from a design point?

Non Sequitur

Thanks for that last comment. I don't think you're eligible for McGill's as they are very selective and cater more to their own undergrads than externals... but a quick phone call to their graduate department should sort that out. It is a better prog than carleton but really... you're looking for that piece of paper that allows you to register as intern (and log exp hours) in canada, and for that, Carleton is not a bad choice. Better than UofT... that's for sure.

Non Sequitur

As for your folio options. What too many people here try to do is show every single god-damn rendering they produced during their studios. Show one stellar rendering in full bleed page and use the other page (or 2) to show the thought process and best technical drawings. Everyone can output shiny graphics but very few can explain their process... and even less so in a succinct graphical way. Slapping everything on top of a colour gradient does not show that you have a good understanding of spatial design.

Non Sequitur

No sure what you mean about age, but the M.Arch is filled with all sorts of characters of all ages. The profs at Carleton are mostly approachable and it would not be a bad idea to reach out to them and ask about the program.  I don't / can't judge design value without seeing the dirty napkin sketches.

meganattor

yes i will definatly call the graduate departmen and see what they have to say.

meganattor

I am curious as to your dislike for the University of Toronto. All i have noticed is that they are much more expensive than comparable universities, but of course no true information about the education there will be apparent from the internet.

meganattor

By technical drawings, you mean detailed drawings of the various structures and installations needed for the building to be constructed in the real world? also what I meant was that I was curious about the standing of my work in comparison to my peers who have recently graduated from their undergrad. I ask this because back in Egypt I had a certain standing among my peers and professors and as such would like to know if this is accurate or not. so how may I show my dirty napkin sketches? as this will be also useful in understanding how to best present my work in my portfolio. A second reason to ask is that, as seen above, a person on the internet has called all my work bad, now I don't put much precedence to the opinions of people on the internet, but there is the chance that I am a fool and have yet to realize it. Although I understand your position on not being able to accurately judge a design without seeing many aspects of the process, even a simple marker of above/below or average would be helpful. thanks for your time btw

Non Sequitur

Lots to take apart here in your response, perhaps you should stop trying to compare yourself & your work to others and instead focus on building up a cohesive package. For what it's worth, your renderings look average as do the plans and section drawings. It's apparent to me that you're a slave to the final forms generated through the computer model and not to the quality of the interior spaces. For example, had you chosen to use a page or two and focus on one dead-sexy section next to the renderings, this would show how you can value a design at different scales. For what it's worth, I think your "content" page is the strongest in the hole folio.

Non Sequitur

As for my dislike of UofT, I'd say it's 2 parts: One, the ranking of UofT as a University is not a good representation of it's architecture program. Being the largest university in the largest city in Canada will automatically set you apart. Second, the architecture-related undergraduate degree that feeds a good chunk of the M.Arch candidates is very poor. I get it that "some" design background is important when getting into a 3y M.arch, I find the UofT undergrads overvalue their abilities (in general) whereas a non-design M.arch applicant is aware of their nativity. It also does not help that a large portion of the graduate work is toronto-centered and simple. With all that said, I have no issues with anyone choosing any institution if the purpose is to get that piece of paper. The real education starts after school once you get into the real world.

meganattor

Thank you for your insight on the subject of U of T. I will try to apply all of the changes and will most likely post my results in a week, I hope to hear your input on this as well, if you have the inclination to of course. Also, may I ask why architects on the forum are grumpy? I'm sure they get the same repeat questions and posts about various subjects but I feel there is something more, as there are many threads about how people are dissatisfied with the field.

Non Sequitur

We're not grumpy by nature... most here are jaded by one-post wonder members looking for free advice and or asking about stupid shipping container thesis. As for grumpyness outside of the archinect forums, well that depends. There is a loud minority who, perhaps through poor employment choices and ridiculously high tuition loans, feel they are owned 6 figure starting salaries and are angry because architects are not considered equal to doctors (we're not even close). These grumpy folks make it look like it's a shit-show at best while the mostly silent majority does just fine. Who's fault is it that someone takes a $18/hr drafting job with no paid overtime or thinks $100k student loans is an intelligent investment? Not mine.

meganattor

I think that people turn to forums when they have an issue, although there is a certain way that people may ask for advice, I think that seeing the same post by a collection of different individuals over the years should prompt maybe the creation of a "sticky" post with the headline of "read if you are about to ask one of the following questions" as a sort of community created FAQ. I don't think it would take much time and should include all the relevant links. You are talking about students from the US yes? as I think tuitions here in Canada can be paid off in maybe 2 years accompanied by some frugality in life. There is a point to be made through that simple and abstractly looking at just the years needed for licensure, it seems that architecture is a poor choice financially and from the perspective of time.

Non Sequitur

We've discussed having a sticky note thread many times before, just has not happened yet. Not sure if ever since so many don't bother searching before posting, I doubt they would read it.

Typically, the high 6 figure loans are US students but I've known of a few Canadian ones to rack up similar sums here.  Not sure how as tuition is already cheap and heavily subsidized (double that if you're a resident of Quebec).  Depending on your office skills and aptitude, student loans can normally be paid back relatively quickly and the licencing path is simpler.


meganattor

I'm unsure how moderation works here, but if a sticky is applied any thread not adhering to the points posted in the sticky should be deleted? or a warning and a pointer towards the relevant information in the sticky. Of course, I'm still new here and offering solutions for non-existent problems is not efficient, I'm sure there are reasons for the way this forum works. I am unsure what you mean by the licensing path is simpler, in comparison to what?

Non Sequitur

licensing path & exams is simpler in canada than the US is what I meant.

randomised

Maybe first work on points 1-7 and post again :)

Sep 6, 18 6:40 am
meganattor

yes, I completely intend to. Other than those seven points and the points that I have discussed with NS, is there anything else that you might like to suggest?

Non Sequitur

I suggest a good strong cup(s) of black coffee.

randomised

Perhaps change the typeface to a sans-serif

meganattor

Yes a change in the typeface to something that is more easily read for the paragraphs, but I do like the font I have used for the headlines and such, thanks for the suggestion though. Also, coffee is the healthy (?) start of any day although I have been keeping the amount at 1 cup per day for at least 2 years now.

randomised

Don't you think it looks too much like Game of Thrones?

meganattor

well, I guess they look similar somewhat, here are two links, the first is the font I'm using, the second is the game of thrones font, put side by side they are similar in certain aspects but I think they differ. Of course, this is completely subjective. http://image.fontsgeek.com/preview/kru3yi4vxqpqxu6nmgol57d6367695Trajan%20Pro%20RegularT.gif https://smartfonts.com/font-images/g/a/game-of-thrones_try-it.png

randomised

Trajan Pro with those vertical stripes through the O's = the GoT font :)

meganattor

yes, I concede the point, the more I think about it the truer it is. But I have a thing for this font, so I'm not sure if I should listen to reason or to continue in my hedonistic ways.

randomised

Sure you can continue using the Game of Thrones font, it's your portfolio not mine...what do I care ;)

'Shame! Shame! Shame!'

JawkneeMusic

this is a great portfolio thanks

Sep 9, 18 5:10 pm
meganattor

thank you for the support

JawkneeMusic

I am hoping you"ll post the files so i can practice my structural eng

Sep 9, 18 5:14 pm
meganattor

I most probably will not as the files are quite large and numerous.

JawkneeMusic

I would say if u can structurally engineer those buildings get to work & smash whoever opposes you as long as i was cing them right

Sep 9, 18 5:16 pm
meganattor

I actually had some issues with the structural engineering aspect, as most of my professors gave me a hard time in my second year for a project that was difficult to design structurally, so I befriended a civil Ph.d student and we worked through each project I had from a structural standpoint. I learned a lot but sadly the portfolio needs to be within about 23 pages and I am having trouble choosing what to include and what not to include.

JawkneeMusic

those r masterpieces if the thing on the bottoms r put on the tops

Sep 9, 18 5:22 pm
JawkneeMusic

like antigravityish

Sep 9, 18 5:23 pm
JawkneeMusic

and congrats on the grad

Sep 9, 18 5:24 pm
JawkneeMusic

but quit it with zaha & gehry, they arent good.  Gehry is better than this tho

Sep 9, 18 5:30 pm
archinine
Other than the points noted above. A general note is the disorganization both per page and across the entire booklet. The words are sort of thrown on the page, and inconsistenly per project. The alignment of the words makes little sense. The CV is the most egregious in this aspect.

The photo looks as though you’re putting out some sort of sad emo or rap album. Either show your face in a normal photo or don’t include it. The current format makes you look immature.

The first section has only 2 images which seems strange. The last page is also a wildcard and poorly laid out. This appears not to be in book format but single slides, so it’s unclear how the final presentation will come together. If it is to be a physical book it isn’t structured properly to be read or bound as such.

The projects themselves might be good. The renders are certainly glossy and pretty. The content of the work is questionable at best, but it seems there may be some thought process, however it’s so jumbled and as mentioned doesn’t include any communicative diagrams or line drawings, it’s hard to say if there’s any depth to the work.

It’s the poorly executed textual and graphic layout across all the pages that leads me believe there is a lack of thought process in the architectural projects. Minimal thought in presentation of this book (if it is even intended as such), no clearly dileneated rules or systems for organizing the information that you’re presenting, and a haphazard attempt to distract from these shortcomings with shiny overbled highly stylized images that tell very little, all belie to me there’s little to be told.

Perhaps rather than plow through another round of applications this year and throw this thing together just to see what sticks, you may consider spending an additional year really working out the details of what you want to present and how to go about that. Based on your written responses you clearly have some level of intellect and drive. Give yourself the time and put in the effort to get into the program you want. Further make certain you’re applying to the right program(s) and have a long term plan. That planning and direction will help drive what/how you’re looking to present, what you’re looking to get from the degree and what you want out of the profession in general.
Sep 9, 18 7:06 pm
meganattor

Firstly thank you for taking the time to give a detailed reply. yes, I agree with your points on the standardization of the way that I convey the meaning, via words and diagrams, I aim to solve this in the next iteration of the portfolio, which I most likely will finish in 3 days I think. I removed the photo and completely redid the C.V. I have also come to the conclusion from everything that has been posted that I have made a large error in rigor in which I convey ideas, I was very used to explaining things for my professors, so assumed that all which I have already in my mind may be conveyed through my portfolio, but it seems that is not the case and that I must show the thought process through my preliminary sketches and the evolution of the project through the given timeline.

meganattor

To be honest, academia does not interest me very much, thus the reason I'm pursuing a masters is because its the next hoop I need to jump through to work as an architect. That being said I enjoy the work very much and my long-term goal is to open a firm with both my younger sisters, who are also architects. I guess this is evident in my work that I treat this degree as a stepping stone, and not a goal in of itself. I can't help but feel that 5 years + 2 for a masters + 3 years for an internship + exams are really needed in the field, as much more complex fields require much less. these are the rules and I must follow, though unhappily.

BR.TN

You list "powerlifting" as a hobby...so what are your d/s/b numbers??

Sep 11, 18 1:26 pm
meganattor

I, unfortunately, stopped lifting seriously 2 years ago, but at my best I had 150 deadlift, 135 squat and 105 bench @ 76 kg bodyweight.

SpontaneousCombustion

What's with all the cloud backgrounds? 
The colors in those backgrounds distract a lot from the work itself.  Maybe that's your intent - but if so anyone reviewing it is going to suspect that. 
Overall the combination of the fonts, colors, and composition give this portfolio the feeling of a slick brochure for some time-share selling operation or maybe a multi-level marketing scheme for jewelry or spa products or somethign.  There might be some architecture firm(s) somewhere where this would mesh well with their image and culture, but not that many.

Sep 14, 18 2:09 pm
meganattor

At the time I had thought that they were pretty and emboldened the work, though I have changed this in the new iteration. I agree that too glossy is an issue and that i will attempt to include more thought-process work in the new iteration. This is a remnant of my subpar education in Egypt where slick renderings where how people judged work, so a reshifting of posture is needed now. also, your moniker reminded me of Sonoluminescence, an interesting phenomenon that you should google.

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