Master of Architecture Potfolio and Profile Review


Hi Folks! 

I'm a final year international B. Arch. student with a 6.5/10 GPA. I'm looking to apply to the M. Arch (Advanced Standing) programs for Fall 2021 at US universities.

Below is my portfolio. Please feel free to criticize and comment on the same honestly! 

My target universities:

2. University of Cincinnati
3. Arizona State University
4. Washington State University
5. University of Oregon
6. Woodbury University
7. Washington University St. Louis
8. University of Maryland

Dec 3, 20 1:31 am
Dzidula Kpodo


Good job on your portfolio

Here are a few comments you can look at

The essence of a portfolio is ultimately to convey a message of your design abilities and thinking capacity. This is not only reflected in the kind of forms you design but also in how you organize them on a sheet of paper. 

i. Most sheets are severely crammed and makes reading very difficult. Page 44-45 is from a competition and it looks like you put the exact same sheets you submitted for the competition in your portfolio. This at first glance will tell any juror that you were too lazy to put it together properly. On page 45, there is a rotated section.... and I've been asking myself for the past two minutes if I'm supposed to turn my screen or twist my neck.

ii. I see a "SCANNED WITH CAM SCANNER" watermark on page34-35. I understand resources for a professional camera might be difficult (had the same situation few months ago), but you could have at least photoshopped that out.  The clone stamp tool will do the trick

But that model looks poorly put together. It looks wobbly and it defo looks like it will collapse if I scream Geronimo. It would  be best to do it all anew.

iii. The hand drawings are not too great either and there must be some suspicious forces at work keeping the roof up. Are those walls in the section at an angle or it's the camera shot...

iv. Pls format and reformat your text. Then format the text the third time. I see several typos. They're not a good sign for your prospects

v. Your camera angles for the perspectives on page 15 is disastrously warped. Perspectives are also a way of communicating - they aren't just a requirement all architecture students have to meet. The question for the gods now is "What are you trying to tell us with your perspective?".

Mmmmm, it would seem that those two renders show two distinct buildings in terms of colour. Are those two fundamentally different buildings? Or the changing of colour is an interesting characteristic of your design.

vi. Page 32-33 is what you should be leaning more towards (without the noisy background for the detail drawings). It has a readable organization.

vii. Your cover page needs some work. Text is too large and in your face. I am not too sure about including a photo of your craft. Maybe you should consider ditching it...

viii. Oh and you might try to reconsider underlining those headings.

ix. The "INTERESTS" page is severely underwhelming. Those "arts" don't communicate of your interests whatsoever and I do not see how that "makes me more lively and also is one of my favorite passtime". Honestly, you can do a better description of your "arts" than what you currently have there now.

Some of these comments might be a teeny weeny hard, but the admissions committee will be much harder lol.

Dec 3, 20 3:48 am  · 
3  · 

@Dzidula Kpodo thanks for your review!


I hope you've looked at other portfolio review threads on here and realize how brutally honest people are. 

Your portfolio is pretty strange. 

At a glance... 

- Why a boat on the cover? What??? 
- The colors on almost everything look like the saturation slider got stuck at 100.. and it's not just the (lumion?) renderings. 
- I could write three paragraphs on each project, but I don't have the time or energy... So I'll just point out my three biggest gripes. The guest house should go away, the quality of the presentation material is not good, and that is even compared to my rather harsh feelings on the rest of them. The last section of your drawing/art should also go away. It's not important and the quality is such it can really only hurt you in my mind. And lastly, I find the pedal concept on the Hospital mildly insulting. It doesn't look like pedals, and the only application of the pedals... is that it is supposed to look like pedals? 

Generic suggestion... maybe try trimming out some additional stuff, getting some more white space in there and going black and white on a project or two? 

I like that you did a lot of work and have plans/modeling for way more stuff than a lot of people... but that doesn't really save this, and I think a lot of the content could use work. 

However, I do you think you have made a fairly reasonable cross section of school selections, and it's likely some of them will accept you if you can improve things a little bit, because they are not necessarily that picky of schools. 

Dec 3, 20 4:13 am  · 
1  ·  1

As someone prepping a portfolio for grad school now, I can say that this is extremely harsh. You have some good points, but I do not think that the portfolio necessarily as severe as you make it seem. It needs some editing, pick out a few pieces that the projects would not make sense without, and maybe 1 or 2 "wow" pieces, and you can dump the rest. Text is something I struggle with as well, but the more you edit down your graphics, the more the project will make sense with less text. I think you've got good ideas and punchy graphics, but they are getting a bit drowned out. Good luck, and stay positive!!

Dzidula Kpodo

I couldn't resist this!

"After obtaining the form of the hospital the third petal is used as a round about with recreational spaces inside it"

Ah ah?????!!! (Nigerian accent)

Dec 3, 20 9:10 am  · 
1  · 

haha this is pure bs

The saturation / colors are terrible. Tone it down. The most legible pages you have are 32/33 yet the text is across the seam which is lazy and takes away from legibility. Also the text is aligned for the first first fallouts then not? Line the text up, it looks messy. You have actually decent designs and great detailed plan and section drawings but the presentation is awful. No attention to line weights. The good drawings are crammed into just a few sheets too small to see and the crappy renderings take up many pages and tell me nothing about the project. The black vs clouds background thing is inconsistent at best. The whole thing is too long. Cut pages down by like half. Show more diagrams, drawings, less hideously over saturated distorted perspective renders. Pick 3-5 projects and document them well rather than tossing in every studio project you’ve ever done. You don’t need a full page of text for each project no one will read that it’s a waste of pages. If you have an ‘interests’ section make it interesting because this one is not. Remove the thank you page it’s weird and feels childish, like ‘please sir’. Look at other portfolios. Look at architectural magazines, drawings and presentations by architects you admire. Pay attention to how things are laid out on the pages. This portfolio could be great because the work is there in the projects, it’s the presentation that is atrocious.
Dec 3, 20 10:15 pm  · 
1  · 

Hi all,

Greatly appreciate your truthful reviews. It has helped me a lot.

I've made quite a few changes, my overhauled portfolio is below:

Feel free to comment/suggest edits. This is probably very close to what my final portfolio will look like, though still working on the text. Thanks again!

Dec 9, 20 11:50 am  · 

not a big expert on potfolios, my brother in law used to swear by sensimilla, hope that helps as I see you’re into flowers! 

Dec 9, 20 12:50 pm  · 

portfolio is spelled wrong on the cover, a bad omen.

Dec 9, 20 12:53 pm  · 

Quick tip. Use a better font and use black for headings and grey for text. 

Try making few images grey and highlight using colors

Dec 10, 20 7:22 am  · 

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