Guidance on Application Portfolio


Hello, I was wondering if anyone would be willing to give me their thoughts/guidance on my portfolio that I have been preparing for masters applications. 

I wanted to note that I am going to be applying to MArch 1 programs, as I come from a non-arch background (sociology). I have tried to implement my sociology background into my portfolio, and you may notice that there is a common theme of human experience throughout. 

As well, my portfolio isn't complete just yet, but I wanted to get an external opinion as to whether I am going in the right direction. 

Link to my portfolio:

Thanks in advanced for your help! 

Sep 30, 19 3:56 pm

A strongpoint of this portfolio is that it's focused on a few projects, and not excessively long or visually cluttered.  A lot of people have trouble editing effectively. Clarity is an advantage. 

The sandbox project is probably your strongest - I'd say put that first. If you have any process work, such as sketches that you did to develop that project, or diagrams that you made for how to construct it, you should include those - process is very important.  The satiety project is thought-provoking - again it would be useful if you could show more about how you got to the end product - like sketches, alternate ideas that you ultimately discarded, etc.

You don't need a table of contents - that's just going to waste space.

You have too much text for some of the projects - try to limit it to no more than 2 or 3 sentences per spread. 

The nature diagrams... just aren't all that compelling.  The text is about looking at things from different ways, but the drawings are pretty run-of-the-mill biology textbook stuff.  If you've got any sketchier, less conventional, more exploratory versions of any of them it would be a good idea to edit out the ones for which you don't have that type of content and focus on those where you can show some true exploration happening through drawing.

Your fingerprint project is visually interesting but the text is immediately off-putting because of the sweeping statement about "an architect's work". Be careful about any statements about what architecture is, or what architects do.  Those are an application cliche, especially from people from non-architecture backgrounds.

Sep 30, 19 4:09 pm

Thank you so much, all of your points are extremely helpful! Im definitely going to make some adjustments.

Also in terms of the number of projects I have presented, do you think there are enough? I was thinking maybe I would need to complete 1-2 more, as the majority of applications say max. 20 pages (or 10 spreads). But I wasn't sure if admissions like to see the max, or just somewhere near that amount. 


The sandbox project is your strongest, play that project up and place it in the front. Do you have any detail shots of this project you could add in? 

I think the two biggest issues about the portfolio for me are the font and the photo choice/editing (or lack thereof) 

The font should be smaller, and used as a sort of mono block graphic for your layout. It's clear that the text isn't just thrown onto the page, but I think it would help your portfolio a lot to tailor it to your layout.

The photographs of your work, process, etc... seem as though you just snapped a quick photo with your iPhone. Just because it's process work, just a sketch or whatever, doesn't mean it should be documented with less rigor than anything else. 

If you still have the work, document it again with archival rigor (yes even the sketch on graph paper) This will make the second step easier for the rest of your life, trust me. 

After documenting correctly (or taking the photo you have) put it into photoshop to edit what you need to edit out/fix/add whatever (delete the graph paper lines for example) and then put it into adobe Lightroom to fix the rest of the lighting (just hit auto in the curves menu if you're unsure what to do) This will make your work, and portfolio, look much more professional, and you will love how it has changed your visual content.

Last thing is, the project that exemplifies photo choice that I'm talking about is 'Seeking Satiation'. I think you should choose the photo of just the head, because you could turn it into the most professional looking of the photos you have. It will make a great statement if you edit it properly. This same comment could be made for the rest of your projects. 

I just found this portfolio on issuu that does a good job at documenting/editing their work for M.Arch I application. 

Hope this helps, good luck

Sep 30, 19 5:16 pm

Thanks for your comment!! I’ve tried to start fixing up my progress work to look more professional, I will definitely update once I’ve made some of those changes.


I have updated a few things in my portfolio (same link), if anyone has any other advice I'm eager to hear! 

(Also noting the diagnosis project is not how I intend to keep it, still playing with how I would like to present it)

Oct 5, 19 9:23 pm

Hello! Project 1, and 5 are definitely my favourite!! 

Project 3 kinda feels flat since there isn't any demonstrated process. It'd be nice if there was some rough idea that led to the project, or if there was a sequential element to the project (like ur project 2), just to get a sense of the thought process. 

I feel as though you should switch the order of 5 and 6. Number 6 has a stronger idea, but its not as satisfying to look at compared to 5. You want them to end on a good note! 

Good Luck! 


Oh! and rework the layout of project 4. I see u tried to use the rule of thirds, but its not very effective.

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