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M.Arch Portfolio Crit - Part II

Archlandia

M.Arch Draft Portfolio

So I have a new portfolio iteration for graduate applications and I'm looking for things that can be improved in this portfolio before I click submit in December. 

I don't care for a conversion around which school I'm applying to at this point. Also - I feel like regardless of the school - a portfolio is either successful or not. So, if this isn't successful, what can I do to bring it closer to being successful?

The placeholder text is just that, and not all of the drawings are 100% complete, but this is where I'm at right now. Another thing - my background is in sculpture and undergrad in architecture, so the sculpture aspects of the portfolio are meant to tie in with my personal statement. Should I continue to develop that narrative/connection or toss it?

Any help/advice is greatly appreciated!

**On Issuu it automatically loads as a spread, but this is meant to be viewed page by page. 

 
Nov 24, 19 3:08 pm
noob.Phronesis

Hi, not at the Masters stage yet so not sure how valuable my feedback is, but:

Not sure on the quote at beginning, unless it's something you hold integral to your designs and self... Maybe just go straight to the table of contents after the cover, include quote at end?

I like your composition, black background seems unusual. How you gradually brought in colour had a good effect, but the last two pages could be in colour to continue the effect.

Also the way it is now you could easily print it as a two page spread, works well. Hope this helps somewhat at least.

Nov 24, 19 5:27 pm
Archlandia

Cool thank you so much! Quote isn't helping the narrative so I'll try something else, and I'll look at the color too. I appreciate it

placebeyondthesplines

quotes in portfolios do nothing but make reviewers roll their eyes

Archlandia

they are cheezy, and I don't know why I tried it but I did.. it's deleted now though!

muji-pen

I think the second project is more intresting then the first, so maybe switch those around. Keep the sculpture stuff at the end, its interesting. 


On page 9 (the diagrams for the first project) , there is not hierarchy on the page, so fix that. 

Nov 25, 19 12:29 am
Archlandia

Awesome, agree on all accounts. Thank you!

apkouv

Pretty bad portfolio. 



Nov 25, 19 1:49 pm
Archlandia

Pretty great advice, thanks

apkouv

We are not here to offer you advice for free. This is what your professors should have done. And if they did, it looks like you didn't really
make use it.

Archlandia

Are you done now?

Gaidamack

Jesus! Nobody came to your house asking for a free advice. If you've got nothing of subst ance to stay just move along.

placebeyondthesplines

it's reasonably well-assembled, which is a significant advantage over many m.arch i portfolios, but the content is all very forgettable. it depends on where you intend to apply, but top schools probably won't give this much consideration.

Archlandia

I agree with you about the work being, meh. Is there anything that you recommend I add/change to make it any better at all? I need to keep the portfolio under 20 pages (minus cover and table of contents pages) so I think that's been my struggle is adding more detailed content that is either illegible due to scaling down or too much content on the page making it illegible composition. That's the design problem of a portfolio I know, but that is what I'm struggling with right now and hope to get just a few more tips on. I click submit in two weeks so there's a bit of time, but not enough to design a whole new project and document it properly.

placebeyondthesplines

where are you applying? portfolios, like statements of purpose, are not universal and should be carefully curated for their intended audience. so a successful application to MIT will likely be very, very different from a successful application to Cranbrook.

Archlandia

That's very true. List hasn't changed a whole ton since I last posted one of my earlier portfolio drafts in July: Michigan, Penn, Pratt, Princeton, PSU, SCI-Arc, Woodbury and Yale. I've added three schools that I may be better off just burning the application fee for warmth, but it's my money and I would rather attempt an application than not. So nobody is going to talk me out of applying to schools that I "have no business applying to". I have very specific reasons that I'm applying to each of these schools; both personal and reasons addressed in my statements. I am curating the portfolios to each school: with variety in projects/sketches/works etc.. but the composition has remained very much the same for sanity/clarity sake. Applying to eight schools, completely reworking my undergraduate work/portfolio, working full-time and trying to maintain a home life isn't the hardest thing I've ever done, but it hasn't been easy either. I've also visited many of these schools (across the country for me) and seen the work, talked to faculty/students/alumni both at the school and socially, and exhaustively searched issuu for any examples of applications and graduating m.arch portfolios alike. So, with this all being said, this is what I was able to come up with. I've worked hard at getting to this point in my work and getting to know many different schools to find where I may fit best. If there are major holes in the work, it would help me a ton to know what others are seeing that I'm not.

apkouv

Excuses, rambling..and a bad portfolio. Honestly you won't go very far if you are seeking free portfolio advice on the Internet and I think you know it.

Archlandia

apkouv - I would eat my hat if you could even muster something that was slightly resembling a theoretical critique of my work. If you don't come up with something relating to an architecturally related critique of the design or theory in your next comment - everyone will know that I called your bluff and you'll look like an idiot. The ball is in your court.

Archlandia

Splines - thoughts on my portfolio compared to these schools?

placebeyondthesplines

the option 2 version you posted is much, much stronger, which is a very positive indicator of your instincts and potential. the reality that not very many people ever really say out loud is that all non-background m.arch portfolios are bad. they're either super boring and safe, absurdly willful and chock full of unearned ego, and/or dreadfully presented.

you've demonstrated significant restraint and put together something that doesn't hurt my eyes. you don't have a lot of experience with architecture projects, and no one expects that you should. with this list of schools, I'd expect something in the neighborhood of the following:


placebeyondthesplines

likely acceptances: pratt, sci-arc, woodbury, and psu. all fine schools, just not terribly competitive when it comes to admissions, and this portfolio will be in the better end of the range.

likely rejections: princeton and yale. the pool is just too competitive for the small number of slots (~12 at princeton, ~20 at yale). but there's no reason not to apply, especially if your grades, essay, and recommendations are super strong.

maybes: michigan and penn. really depends on the rest of your application but I think these are your actual reach schools. definitely possible if you fit the profile of what the admissions committee wants for this years class. 

happy to discuss more via email. good luck.

Archlandia

I would be ecstatic for the maybes and perfectly happy with the likelys. I really appreciate you taking the time to look at the portfolio and lending insight. I’ll continue refining the work to gain a chance at the maybe schools. I’ll contact you in the next couple of days. Thanks again!

apkouv

You are just wasting your time. Your portfolio is on the lower end of what we usually see on here

Archlandia

You are just wasting your time. Your intelligence is on the lower end of what we usually see on here

apkouv

Why do you lie to yourself? Coming to Archinect for a review of your portfolio by complete strangers? Your portfolio lacks in a lot of areas and that's not something that you could fix within a couple of weeks. You just didn't make use of your education. Which school did you go to and what was your GPA? Do you have any professional projects to show?

Archlandia

Alina, how did you get another account? lol

apkouv

You spent more time designing the cover and the filler pages than the projects. Have you got any work experience at all? Coordinated a set or anything showing technical ability? Where is all that in your portfolio?

Archlandia

I'm not applying to drafting school, I'm applying to design school. I work on CD's and RFP's every day at work and have been doing it since before I graduated from undergrad. This is my undergraduate work applying to an M.Arch program, in case you're confused, Alina. I don't understand how you get banned and then come back and act the same way expecting a different outcome. By the way, still waiting for your critique because I said that you'd look like a fool if you didn't provide one and well...

apkouv

Drafting school? Do you understand what technical ability stands for? But you want to be a designer, right? You must be one of these dreamer kids who think they can make it into Yale (Norman Foster's alma matter) with a subpar portfolio of polished bullshit reviewed by a bunch of random people on the Internet. Once you get your results make sure you post the rejection letters on here as well. It will make a valuable lesson for the young folks.

Archlandia

That's where you're wrong, I don't think I can make it into Yale. If you could actually comprehend what you read, you would see that I already said that above. You think the only place I came to for advice was Archinect? No, it's called diversifying. If I only relied on my mentors and peers in real life I would only be getting a tiny slice of opinion with hardly a diverse outlook. I think the most valuable lesson here is to not listen to your dumbass lol

Archlandia

And why are you talking about Norman Foster? What does that have to do with anything?

apkouv

It's evident that you can't handle criticism, which is a key skill for any good architect. I won't say anything else. Just post your results in 6 months time and we'll have another chat.

Non Sequitur

Apkouv is just being a wanker. While your folio is not stellar, the layout decision show you understand basics of design. Certainly needs more refinement, many images are too small and/or generic and I'd love to see more concept sketches instead of mediocre 3D models.

apkouv

I am a wanker because I refuse to praise mediocrity?? I think you have certainly hit the bottom of the barrel with this comment. What happened to high standards?

Non Sequitur

my standards are higher than yours. thanks for stopping by.

Archlandia

Apkouv I never asked for praise, I asked for advice. Your “advice” is dickish and unhelpful

Archlandia

Thanks Non - I’ll work on that

apkouv

Archlandia, there's nothing to work on. If any school admits you it will be because they want your money. No other reason. That's the harsh truth. Non Sequitur, speaking of high standards, it is obvious what your standards are when you randomly call other people wankers like that.

Non Sequitur

Happy you're come around and recognized your flaws Ap.

apkouv

Go away troll.

Non Sequitur

I’ve never trolled anyone.

flaviao.machado

The cycling village plans are a bit difficult to understand.
I like the house project, maybe I would put it as the n-2 and make the floorplan a bit bigger. 
I like the general layout and the colors

Nov 25, 19 3:33 pm
Archlandia

Great, thanks for taking a look at it. Those cycling plans are next on my list now; I pulled them from an unfinished Rhino model. I'll mess with the order of the projects some more too. I appreciate it!

JawkneeMusic

your imaginative ones are the best i've seen.  unfortunately that probably means it won't help you

Nov 25, 19 7:15 pm
JawkneeMusic

you're probably wondering: the pyramid with undulating planes, the leaning tower are the goods

Archlandia

Well Jawknee, I can't figure out what you mean exactly, but thank you for taking the time to give your feedback. The more feedback the better.

Archlandia
apx9101

It's hard to receive precise feedback on this forum. Especially since most peoples first impulse is to demean or criticize your post. Most architects are especially conservative.

apx9101

With that being said, here are some comments that I hope could help you in your journey towards grad school:

apx9101

ugh i just typed a long list and somehow it didn't send. I will retype this evening.

thatsthat

I actually really like your sculptures.  I think the darker picture is a little too dark though.  Its hard to tell what exactly it is, but the lighter photo really shows off your piece.

Nov 27, 19 4:32 pm
Archlandia

I was hoping it would read as dramatic, but none of that matters if it's hard to even see what it is.. I'll lighten that up, thank you!

Laurila

This might just be personal preference, but its effective to start a project off with a final image, and then on the second spread, show the process work. That's where the sketch goes and the diagrams. 

Nov 27, 19 7:24 pm
Archlandia

So I placed more graphically interesting things representing the project on the title pages just now, and it does read much better. I used the images from what is already existing in the portfolio though. I think I will need to produce an additional image for each project that I can use so I don't just duplicate the "final image" that I've chosen. I thought I would try something different with the sketches, but this way does look much better. Good call, and thanks!

Vins

If anyone has any knowledge about this, please do help me out!https://archinect.com/forum/th...

Nov 30, 19 9:19 am
tuna

late to the game. page not found 

Dec 5, 19 1:03 pm
Archlandia

Yeah I took them down while I work on it a lot more. I will repost it this weekend, or next week at the latest, for round two (*round three?)

Archlandia
SpontaneousCombustion

It's a good mix of projects, and well curated.  So many portfolios that are posted here have far too many projects, and a dizzying number of images per project.  This one lets the reader focus on the projects well.

It has a good mix of types of projects, and a good flow from process to end-product.  ...Except your second project looks like a giant monolithic tanning bed, and it's kind of hard to get past that once you see it.

I recommend removing the dates of the projects, because realistically there is sometimes bias against those who have been out of academia for quite awhile.  I'd also remove the project durations and budgets. You just can't tell how those might be interpreted - they're just as likely to hurt you as to help.  Keep the info to a minimum so that your audience focuses on the visual work and your design process, and not as much on the backstory of your life and academic and professional trajectory.  Overall you've also got a bit too much text.  Assume that the reader won't bother with more than 1 to 3 sentences per project, including its title.

Dec 5, 19 3:02 pm
Archlandia

​Ha! A tanning bed...ouch! I can't do much to change that now but I'll take it as a learning opportunity. Text critiques noted, I'll take a look at cutting a lot of it out. I was hoping it would present more like an editorial which is why I had so much text in there in the first place, but another learning moment. I've always heard the opposite about people applying after taking a few years to practice, I didn't know that people may see that negatively. Why would that be a negative?

SpontaneousCombustion

Yes, lot of admissions people do think more highly of someone who has taken a year or two between undergrad and grad school to work in some firms and make sure that architecture is really what they want to do. But a year or two spent growing up and getting your head straight is a little different than a decade and a real career. It's not that they don't like people who have done the latter - some of those people do get admitted, and often make great students. But there can be some concerns. I'm just saying maybe leave it a little harder to do the math.

Archlandia

Ah I see what you’re saying. Yeah I’ll just take the year off of the sculptures for sure because I did those before I even went to undergrad. I graduated from undergrad in 2016. Also the budgets and other info you mentioned, I’ll take that stuff out too.

dayDream3r

Hey archlandia,

I've been following your portfolio updates from the shadows and i must say, you have some pretty good work! Your overall layout is really organized and draws a reader in. Ive always been a bit skeptical when it comes to the black and white themed portfolios, i feel they don't do most graphical representations justice.

I do feel that some of your models and drawings loose a bit of information when the shades get too dark. I don't know how easily this can be rectified. It's my opinion however, and could be subjective. If you feel what needs to be communicated is clear, then ignore this.

Otherwise, it's very evident the amount of time you have put into improving your work. I hope it pays off. Wish you all the luck in the world!

Dec 5, 19 5:05 pm
Archlandia

I think you're definitely right about the some of the drawings being too dark. Thanks for taking a look and giving your feedback, I appreciate it!

chuckluck

would love to take a look but says invalid link :/

Dec 11, 19 4:10 am
Archlandia

Removed again until I submit. I'll definitely post it in your M.Arch decisions thread after I submit it

chuckluck

Sounds good, good luck with your apps! If you have got some time I posted mine for some feedback as well :) cheers

Archlandia

I'll give you some feedback on it later today. Thanks, you too!

chuckluck

appreciate it :)


Dec 13, 19 1:01 am

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