High School Portfolio Critique

August F.

I'm currently in my senior year of highschool, and I'm getting ready to apply for B.Arch at Rice, WashU, Carnegie Mellon, and Cornell, all of which require a portfolio for incoming applicants to undergrad. 

I only have two real projects under my belt: one hypothetical and one that we actually built. The rest is personal work, but I figured I'd still ask for some general critique.


Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Dec 3, 18 10:31 am
Non Sequitur

Add more sketches.  You're applying to an arch undergrad so it's expected that you don't know shit about architecture... So as much as it's good that you have some exposure, best to focus the folio on examples that demonstrate your ability to think in terms of the design basics: light/shadow, scale/proportions, perspective, etc.

Dec 3, 18 10:51 am
August F.

I do have in-progress scans of my finished drawings, which show the linework and shadows before the color was added. Would it be redundant to add the in-progress view of a drawing alongside the finished version?

Non Sequitur

Which ones, the first project? Not really, unless you have good concept sketches. Focus on things like your Salk and mobile home pieces. This is what people look for, just don't just draw from photographs. Head out and carry a sketchbook... draw things around you, the city, shadows, random people on street corners, etc.

August F.

I meant to say that I have scans of the Salk Institute and Mobile Home sketches that just show the linework and shadows before the color was added. Would it make sense to include those alongside the finished, colored sketches?

Non Sequitur

^No, probably best to maximize on unique examples.

August F.

Got it. Thanks for the input.


The sketches and model for the IIT project are the kind of things that admissions committees like to see.  Unfortunately the end product on that project is disappointing.  It's not as good as the model, in terms of functionality, concept, or aesthetics.  I would suggest either getting a better photo (one where all the people in the photo aren't ignoring it, turning their backs on it, etc. - perhaps one where people are actually sitting on the bench and/or reading the graphics.) or leaving out the end product completely.

Dec 3, 18 12:04 pm
August F.

I get where you're coming from with the dissapointment over the final product. In my concept model I envisioned a cladded roof that actually shielded people from rain, but through material shortages and my team members tweaking the design, we ended up constructing the thing without a solid roof. As for the photo, I could go back out to the site and try to take a better one with people interacting with the pavilion.


Yeah, I understand how projects get "value engineered" - but yes, it would be better to get a photo with people interacting with the finished product - even if you have to take some friends along to be the models. Your current photo shows people surrounding the thing but actively ignoring it - which is just about the worst critique it could get!


I took these 30 years ago, a door to "huayna picchu", a wall in sacsayhuaman and all of macchu picchu from the top of the huayna. There is more texture to the materials everywhere, look for it.

Dec 3, 18 12:16 pm

Be careful about your school list. Highly recommend program with B.Arch degree instead of B.Sc of Architecture of B. Art of Architecture. For instance, as I know WashU's undergraduate only provide B.Sc and B.Art programs. This is really important if you want to archive master degree in relative shorter time: If you get a B.Arch degree, you may only need 1.5-2.5 year(US) or 1 yr(some program abroad like UK) to finish your master degree and that's it. If you get a B.Sc or B.Art, most of the case you need to apply a 3yr/3.5yr program to get your master degree.

Also check the NAAB's accredited program's list as your reference. This is the one of prerequisites for registered architect in your future career.

Dec 3, 18 5:18 pm
August F.

I've heard that the difference between B.Sc and B.Art is that B.Sc covers the technical aspects necessary to actually become a licensed architect, while B.Art does not, but I'm not aware of how those two compare to B.Arch. What's the difference between B.Sc and B.Arch?

Dec 3, 18 5:45 pm
Non Sequitur

The difference is accreditation.


The NAAB accredited, 5-year B.Arch qualifies you to take the ARE and become licensed. No need for a

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