M.Arch I Portfolio Review (No Arch Background)


Hey folks,

I am applying for my M. Arch I and would like to get some feedback on my portfolio. I don't have an architecture background or a formal design background, but I do have fine arts training and some graphic design experience. 

Looking forward to hearing any constructive comments, and I am particularly interested in hearing thoughts about which sections are strongest and what order the sections should be in for max impact.

Two notes:
1) I had to redact my first name and a few project details due to some professional conflicts. Please don't hold that against me!
2) This is probably an 80% draft. I am drafting the text in Word for the sake of better spell/grammar check, and I haven't copied it all in yet. (I know no one reads the text anyways.)



Dec 8, 18 7:54 pm

it’s a cohesive portfolio (graphically). I enjoyed the presentation of the first project  

You’re right no one reads the texts, but you’ve organized it in a way that adds to the overall presentation. 

Definitely spell check. It’s “master” of architecture, not “masters”. There was a couple of other spellings errors that got past you.  

Something about those numbers bothers me, but that’s probably subjective. 

Dec 8, 18 8:21 pm

Thanks Anon! I appreciate the input. Pretty embarrassed that I didn't catch "masters," but really glad you pointed it out. Do you agree with ArchitectureStu below that changing the size of the numbers would help? Definitely open to making changes to the size/placement if you think it would help.


Any thoughts on the flow/order of the projects?


Graphically, it is really eye catchy. I like the use of the color and its consistency. Kinda feel like that it is a lot of texts, I think you might make it more concise.

I have the same feeling on those numbers. They are graphically perfect and comfortable when reading. However, I think they are not your major design, it might not have to stand out that big in the central of one page. It's also totally fine that you have blank space left for reviewers, which would not make the whole page so crowded.

Dec 8, 18 9:24 pm

Hey there, thanks for the comments! I will try to keep the text concise for the other projects--it will definitely be under 200 words for each of those. I appreciate the thoughts on the numbers, I will see how things look if I make them a bit smaller. Any thoughts on the order of the projects?

Non Sequitur

I think this is better than many folio's I've seen lately and that includes those with arch backgrounds.

Dec 8, 18 10:23 pm

Wow thanks! That is really reassuring--I feel like I've been looking at it for so long that I've become a little blinded and it's difficult to see the quality with any level of objectivity anymore. I would love to hear if you have any ideas on how to refine it further.

Non Sequitur

What I like is two parts: The first is that everything "fits" together into one clean package. Since the images all meet one graphic theme, you don't come across as a clueless applicant trowing everything you have into InDesign. The second is that you don't pretend to known anything about architecture and this is rather rare with non-arch applicants. Most in your place attempt to show something architectural... like a shitty sketchup model of a subburban house, or whatever.

What I'd like to see more of are those urban sketches.  Try to change up the scale too so instead of a skyline, try a lamppost or street sign... something to show more variety with the sketching.


Awesome, thanks again! Good suggestion. I think I am at my page limit for a number of schools, but I will see about adding some additional sketches for the schools that allow more pages.


Well designed portfolio (with awesome trees on the cover).

Dec 10, 18 4:59 am

Thank you! I'm glad you like the trees :)


Is it "Masters of Architecture" ?

"Master's of Architecture"

or "Master of Architecture" ?

Check whatever the school you're applying to and how they state the degree name and put it in that way, accordingly (eg.  Architecture Track III)  That kind of thing may be detrimental in some applications.  Perhaps?

Dec 10, 18 1:27 pm

Yep, that was a pretty silly mistake on my part. Thanks to you and Anon_grad2.0 for calling it to my attention!


I really like this portfolio a ton.  Because you asked specifically about the order of projects, I personally think your 2 graphic design sections are the strongest.  I like that the fine arts section and sketches are broken up, but try one with them together and see how it reads.  I can also see the logic in how you've currently ordered it.  That being said I would do an iteration with the sections ordered Dead Horse, housing inventory, fine arts, sketches, graphic design work.  I would send those two iterations to colleagues, friends, past professors and get feedback about what is stronger. 

Dec 11, 18 10:28 am

Thank you! I had a graphic designer-friend look at it the other day and she recommended I keep it the same except have it flow from Dead Horse to Graphic Design (and Fine Arts to sketches), so I sent that iteration around to a few other folks. I will try the other iteration you suggest and get some thoughts. I really appreciate your thoughts on the flow!


First off, sorry to zombify an old thread (but not that sorry because it's my own thread).

Context: for a number of reasons, I ended up declining all of my offers last year with plans to reapply this year. I am in the process of revising my portfolio and other application materials, so I would love any additional feedback on my portfolio from last year. The final submission is here: link

I did end up with many acceptances last year, but I was rejected at two schools, waitlisted at one, and I didn't get a good scholarship at the one I liked the most.

That's just to say, I know there is room for improvement from last year's portfolio. Maybe the comments above were a little too rosy? I have content from the GSAPP intro program I did this summer that I will be adding, but if there's any stuff from before that should really be reworked or removed, I would like to hear about it. Thoughts?

(Side note: I am really not asking for any criticism of my decision not to go to school this past year. There were a lot of factors at play and it was the right decision for me.)

Nov 3, 19 5:04 pm

Seriously, its your own thread so its more fair game on your part.

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