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Creating personal projects for admission to M.Arch programs

KingsMake

So I have an undergraduate degree in Finance and Entrepreneurship -which was crazy difficult for me because I am more of the creative type. I worked hard and graduated with Honors/decent GPA -and I want to go on to become an architect. I am an expert in CAD, rendering and animation and I take on a lot of freelance gigs in those areas. So I have a lot of general skills that would have been taught in an architecture or art program- like Rhino, V-Ray, Adobe.. etc. But I want to take on personal projects to start building an aptitude for designing buildings (as opposed to products and branding like what I have done in the past) and to demonstrate my capabilities for graduate schools. Would this be a good idea or should I only show my art? Would admissions like seeing the initiative or would they question why I did a project for no reason? If this is a good idea, where would I begin? I am finding that having no constraints makes things a bit difficult. 

 
Jan 22, 23 11:30 pm
Non Sequitur

Applications don't care about how and why a "project" was developed.  They only care about the quality of the content and the way the folio describes your creative and design skills.  

If the no constraints is hard for you as "a creative type"... then you won't like arch grad school.  That part is why folio content is so important.  Let the student live or die by their own choices instead of following a checklist.

Also re-read your past forum queries.  

Jan 22, 23 11:39 pm  · 
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KingsMake

Well, in graduate school I am sure they give you project constraints to work off of. They don't just open the doors and say "make whatever structure you want anywhere in the world."

Jan 23, 23 12:37 am  · 
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Non Sequitur

Actually, many programs do.

Jan 23, 23 5:44 am  · 
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Really? Our school projects always had an actual site and limiting factors. It's how we learned to design stuff. . . .

Jan 23, 23 11:19 am  · 
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Non Sequitur

My undergrad studios did, (most of them)... but grad school was 100% free-for-all open to whatever. No guides, no set rules. Live and die by your own choices.

Jan 23, 23 11:43 am  · 
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x-jla

Yeah ok, but I also have tons of sketch books filled with made up ideas for projects. Parts, details, plans, etc. It’s great practice, and a way to evolve your work and ideas way faster than can happen of you wait for blessings from others to play in the sandbox. Because I had been doing this my entire life, architectural (spatial) thinking was easier for me than most people. I had an entire inventory of ideas to reference when taking on a real project or school project. I still do this to this day.

Jan 23, 23 11:46 am  · 
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x-jla

I think if you demonstrate a history of “play” with form and architectural things many crits will understand the utility of that.

Jan 23, 23 11:52 am  · 
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Non Sequitur

X, most kids these days based on the folios and questions posted here don't keep sketches of options and design ideas.... Just endless hard-drives filled with CGI. I'll admit I don't keep much anymore but I do stash sketchbooks throughout the office and my house and pencil in shit whenever I need to. Might never get reviewed again, but it's there. Certainly improved my grad school application because of the breath of sketches & ideas.

Jan 23, 23 11:53 am  · 
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x-jla

I forget the name of the book, but Steven Holl made a book of made up projects early in his career. Beautiful book.

Jan 23, 23 11:57 am  · 
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edwardsinger

I’m not sure designing buildings for your grad school portfolio is the best thing to do.  Demonstrating creative thinking is more important.  You’re going to grad school to learn about architecture, so trying to show you already know (or think you know) what it is can be counterproductive.  

Jan 23, 23 7:10 am  · 
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gual

It's common for people who don't have a design education to put self-directed work in their portfolios. If you want an interesting prompt -- which is helpful, because otherwise the exercise becomes arbitrary -- you can look at student portfolios or ideas competitions. You don't have to fully resolve the project, you can keep things somewhat abstract (make a model, explain a design process, do a couple of concept perspectives, etc).

Jan 23, 23 12:25 pm  · 
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