Portfolio + Review 2


Greetings, again a long post so here is the tl:dr version:

I have posted before, the link to my previous thread is here, where I asked for advice about my portfolio which I intend to submit for my M.Arch. I received various interesting criticisms. I have attempted to apply what I found to be within my means, to my portfolio. Here is a link to my edited Portfolio.

I would like to ask if there are more issues that I may attempt to solve, as I still have time to change aspects. Thank you preemptively for your contributions. 

Some points I would like to address, almost all the criticisms that were given were valid, I only changed what I seemed to be more telling of my design personality and showed my work in a more clear fashion. There are aspects that could be better, but less "me" I would say. I have tried to come at a half way point with the things that I did not agree with, as naturally I agree with what I have previously done and resolve to learn what I don't agree with.

I would like to specifically ask if there has been an improvement in comparison with the old portfolio, as what I think is critical is the grasp of the viewpoint of others, and as long as there is improvement then I have only the factor of time to arrive at a satisfactorily good portfolio. 

I did not use as the layout was not accurate to my image of the portfolio. When printed, it should be a single sided book in landscape orientation, with the opposite page being black, and the back cover being black. This is why the link i have added is a link. I am unsure if page numbers are useful.

I would like to thank all of the users who have posted in my old thread.

Sep 20, 18 1:13 pm
Non Sequitur

Stop with the various text justifications.... it's insane to think one can organize images in a rational and artistic way... but can't see how bad mixing up font sizes and paragraph justification styles.

Page 14 looks fun, as does page 9.  I don't think you need the two sections at the top of pages 7 & 8 since that information is better conveyed by the perspectives.  White space will help out.

Also, I spotted a few spelling mistakes.  get some to proof read it before it goes out.  Try and cut the text by 75%.  No one will read it.

last point, don't write portfolio on the cover... and only list the software you know.  Don't rate yourself.  

Sep 20, 18 1:40 pm

Thank you for taking the time and replying, I will unify the text justifications. I'm glad you liked those pages, as for the sections I thought that even though the same information is conveyed by the perspective underneath, I wanted to tie the perspective, which does not show the entirety of a full section, with the project as a whole. This was my reasoning for having both sections. I will attempt at decreasing the text and fixing any vocabulary issues. I will also be removing the word portfolio, but am curious as to why?


Non Seq: Why remove "portfolio" from the cover? Has it become passé? I'm genuinely curious as I'm currently re-working mine.

Non Sequitur

It's obvious that it's a portfolio. Why bother adding more text than you need?


More white space and a clearer hierarchy of images and text would be better.  This is very busy to me and it's hard to figure out what I'm supposed to be looking at.  Overall, there is a problem with consistency.  Text is justified differently in different locations, on some drawings you use dots and some are just straight lines and some are arrows, text is different sizes, some times you use lists and some times you have paragraphs.  I have read the text in full, but it looks like in some areas you give the image a label and other places you didn't.  It's disorienting.

Your portfolio should be bookended by the best projects with your middling projects in the middle.  That way you start off on the best note and you leave with a great impression.  Having said that, I would reconsider the order of your projects based on what you are intending to convey with this portfolio.

Also on page 14, I'd remove "architectural model" and just make the picture full page.  

Sep 20, 18 4:28 pm

Thank you for your criticisms. so I will attempt at making the page organization more clear, with a non-subtle hierarchy. Yes, I noticed the text justification is quite the eyesore and will be working on that. I would like to note that there are only three projects in the portfolio, and they are in chronological order. which projects are you advising I switch as I am uncertain of your meaning by what I intend to convey in the portfolio?


Needs hierarchy, still don't like the Game of Thrones font and the fact all text is capitalised, reads like you're screaming. The alignments are all over the place, be consistent (but don't align to center). And edit your text, nobody will bother reading it all. The skies look like your HDR skies while rendering or something, distracting and annoying, like you forgot to switch that layer off in photoshop. I'd rotate the picture of the architectural model to the reading direction. Those portrait sketches don't really need a page each do they? This size all the flaws are jumping off the page, I'd put them smaller and safely at the end of your portfolio and make a proper back page.

Sep 21, 18 4:21 am

^^ gets it right.


I would like to ask for font suggestions as I have been looking through fonts yet nothing has jumped out at me. I am considering the following fonts: Roboto, Helvetica, and Futura. You mean flip the model the other way? For clarification, my model is made to be wall hanged, or resting at an 80-degree angle on the rest that I have designed and built, so the picture that is included in the portfolio is what you might see by walking towards it. Also, thank you for taking the time to reply to my post.


Roboto is very bland, I would even prefer Arial in that case. Helvetica and Futura are too obvious, I looked up Korolev, that's a nice one. And about your model, nowhere do you state that it is hanging on the wall, show that if it is important, or rotate it so people can read the picture better.


It is not important from the perspective of the design, but more from a point that I wanted to make to a professor, who had alleged that I would be unable to make a proper model for my design (implying a shallow understanding of the geometry and structure). so I made the model. And designed it so that it would be hung from a wall, without falling to pieces because of the eccentric loads on the pieces because it weighed 40 kg.


So show that proper model as it was intended or highlights what needs highlighting because it isn't clear yet, at least not to me...


Randomised's comment is exactly what I was trying to get to. Currently, all of these projects just look like they're in here with no real intent. Right now, it just looks like you're showing off that you can render and draw and make shapes. But there's very little understanding of WHY the buildings look like they do and what the purpose of these drawings are. Is the purpose of the portfolio to show off your rendering skills or to show that you have some potential as a designer? If the former is the case, then you're done. If the second is the case, you may want to rethink a bunch of what you've done here.

I like what you have going on here, and the only thing that feels out of place to me is your pencil portraits. The portraits seem just sort of thrown in the mix with not enough blending or separation from the rest of your projects. Also, maybe try Korolev text? You can find it in adobe typekit, it’s a sans serif that’s simple and clean
Sep 23, 18 12:52 am

Thank you for taking the time to reply. Yeah, the portraits have been moved to the back. I'm still going through the different fonts but I have looked at Korolev and it is quite nice.


the absurd level of drama in almost every page gives the impression that you take yourself way, way too seriously.

coupled with the silly willfulness of the actual projects, this just looks like the kind of portfolio reviewers laugh at and reject immediately.

Sep 23, 18 7:00 pm

Well, that's quite depressing. By drama, you mean in the writing? As writing is not my strong suit. Also, may I ask for clarification about what you mean by willfulness? I would hope not to get laughed at then rejected immediately, so is there anything you would suggest that may decrease the chances of being rejected immediately?


the writing, the images, the fucking awful typography...I could go on. the work is presented without an ounce of humility, like these projects are gifts to the world, when they're actually just amateurish exercises in "complex geometry" for the sake of itself.


The issue with the typography has been noted, previously. I am trying to understand your point of view, so if you may, please clarify what elements in the portfolio give such a sense of non-humility. I am an amateur as I have much to learn and am not a professional architect, so I think it inaccurate to expect my work to be anything other. Also, I would like to thank you for taking the time and replying.


I appreciate that you want to improve your portfolio and that you're looking for feedback. so I'll be frank with you: the work is really bad across the board, and the ways you've chosen to present it make it clear that you just aren't a very skilled designer. you have some facility with software, but your design instincts are profoundly misguided. the rotated square plan, the obsession with symmetry and platonic forms, the superficial attempts at complexity through curved geometries, the hacky faux-cinematic renderings, the post-rationalized idea development to justify design decisions that you think look "cool," the horrendous layout and's hard to find much that's redeeming here. your hand drawings are fine, and you can clearly get around in 3DS Max, but you're relying on the software to cover up design moves that can't possibly be justified. this isn't what you're going to want to hear, but I can't imagine this portfolio (or really any version of this work) being accepted to any reputable architecture programs in the US or Canada.

I think a big turn off with your current portfolio is how busy most of the pages are. It doesnt help that your transitions from project to project can be confusing at times without a true delineation from one project to the next. The layouts are all over the place without a clear order or grid, making your spreads hard to interpret. I see sketches thrown on the page haphazardly with rendered plan cuts and line drawings, all ordered differently on every page. Unfortunately your portfolio reads more like a collage than a visual organization of selected work. Look on issuu at some of the successful portfolios and you’ll quickly notice a pattern.

Your first step should be to figure out a grid and put all your images in it. This allows you to logically place your diagrams and drawings without worrying about graphics. Only after doing this should you then work on your graphics. You seem to prioritize prerendered pages above process and diagrams, which dulls the senses after the first couple pages. White space is good for the eyes, use it generously. You need to find a rhythm in your layout, break the monotony, not every page should be rendered/full bleed.

You have too much text, I strongly advise you to place all your paragraphs on the first page of each project, and leave only one to two sentence explanations (if that at all) for the rest. You should also include much more process diagrams and sketches in place of expository text, as visual clarity is highly important in our field.

As for your design, I only have one tip, and that is to show more diagrams! Process is more important than renderings. Show how your design evolved. You already have sketches of plans/sections/spaces which is good in showing your design process, now show much more diagrams. Show us your iterative process.

Finally, placesbeyondthesplines might have come on a bit hard, but his criticisms are all valid. I’ve seen successful portfolios with much more complex and “cool” designs than yours, probably most of the stuff coming out of sci-arc is beyond what you’ve shown here. I’ve also seen successful portfolios that contain more basic and simpler designs. It’s all in your presentation.


I agree with this up to a point. This person has a B.Arch; he should know how to represent his work. we’re talking about grid layouts—literally step one in portfolio production—to a person with a college degree in architecture. we can try to help this person compose the best portfolio he can (and maybe we should), but garbage in a grid, annotated with perfect type selections, and tastefully still garbage.
and with regard to those successful portfolios with complex designs: they succeed because the complexity contains meaning, which is absolutely not the case here.

That’s why I strongly insisted on him showing morep

Ugh phone sorry. Cont’d. Showing more process. I think we’re all struggling to see something of value in his work because we’re only seeing 5% of it. I agree that it seems shallow right now, but who knows, maybe there is something missing he has neglected to put there.


we may disagree on this point, but I think we can see enough right now to know that there isn't an invisible profound underpinning that makes "the amarnian diamond" a quality design project


Thank you for your replies, I will contemplate about these points.


Also, if you may link some portfolios that you think have merit, this would be very helpful. I have gone through many Issuu portfolios but would like to see which ones you find particularly nice.

It’s been a while since I looked on issuu, but some keywords to check for would be M.arch/GSD/GSAPP/yale etc. Also, it helps to check for portfolios for your choice of schools to at least ge
t a sense of your competition.


it is not our responsibility to point out successful portfolios to you. you should be able to recognize well-executed work by now, and the fact that you have previously looked through Issuu portfolios (and subsequently produced the portfolio you linked to) is very telling.


Wow, you have very much surprised me. Nowhere have I stated that it is anyone's responsibility to do anything, thus we have the word   (* ASK *), which is what I have done. I am able to recognize well-executed work, but its almost as if architecture is subjective, therefore maybe my own opinion is not the only one that matters? I understand your dislike for my work, and I understand that you are under no obligation to reply in a respectful manner, but dude c'mon. You really don't have to reply to this thread if you don't want to. I would very much like to continue arguing on this internet basket weaving design forum but I'm sure you have more important things to do than focus your last 6 comments since March on my portfolio, for something you seem to dislike so much you do give it an absurd amount of attention. I would have hoped for a higher level of discourse but it seems my hopes are unfounded.


you are asking strangers to help you do something you should already be able to do. your argument that "architecture is subjective" is fascinating, considering you came here for guidance on how to improve your chances of getting into graduate school. many of us on this forum know what admissions committees look for and what makes them cringe. bearing that knowledge in your portfolio is terrible and unsuccessful for a wide variety of reasons. you certainly don't have to take the advice of anyone here, but as it stands you're not getting into any graduate program with this portfolio (at least not one with any standards).


I think you may have missed my previous point. Also, I think this may be devolving into an argument that will be inevitably pointless. I am keen on continuing to listen to your criticisms of my portfolio in an attempt to get accepted into a masters program.


I like it, it's a neat advertisement. I think the drama and effects are pretty cool.


there is a difference (perhaps too subtle for you to recognize, nuance not being your strong suit) between giving your portfolio an "absurd amount of attention" and participating in a discourse, started by your post, that may be of use to future visitors to this forum.


@z6jbishop thank you for taking the time to reply, I am open to suggestions for making it better.


@placebeyondthesplines Again I reiterate, I am open to all constructive criticisms if you have any, and would rather not reply in an argumentative style point by point, that would not benefit future users. I thank you for all the points you have posted previously and am willing to hear any points you have not posted pertaining to my portfolio.



Sep 24, 18 7:33 pm

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