Portfolio Review


I'm applying for an MArch 1. My undergraduate degree was in Sociology and the majority of my creative background comes from the built environment. 

I'd love to hear some criticism on what I've done so far. I'm trying to keep my portfolio to 20 pages, which is where it's at right now. 

Thanks in advance.

Dec 17, 12 8:56 pm

Hey there, I'll take the first stab at this for you, but just so you know, I'm also applying for M.Arch1 with a background in English, so take everything I say with a grain of salt. 

I would take out the drawings and photography and really trump up the Homestead Revival Project. I think it's pretty interesting and obviously well completed (I build similar furniture, so it's nice to see something apart from the modern stuff all the time). However, it's definitely missing a lot of what I think the committees are looking for...process. You have some construction photos, but can you do a couple of rough concept sketches or even a measured drawing for the overall structure? I think that would strengthen the overall presentation. I would do pretty much the same thing for the bed, tables, metal work, etc. and really flesh out those projects so they stand on their own more.

If you're still wanting to include photography, maybe you could take pictures of local antiques that inspired each of the furnishings for the project as well. That would both show your inspiration and preface each of the projects with the seed of your concepts. 

Maybe someone else will chime in, because I am by no means an authority, but I think your Modern Architecture photography isn't showing them anything they don't know and I would cut it. 

I also think that the SubmiT project is really cool and tells the committees a lot about who you are, what you care about, the work you do, etc. However, because the first page is to the right of the last Modern Architecture page, it is a little confusing and incoherent. Try to have one whole spread for SubmiT

Overall, I like that you have a pretty clean layout and use of text. I think the saturation of all your photos is consistent and looks good from page to page, but you should really go back and fill out the homestead project, that's your bread and butter. 

Hope this helps and good luck with everything!

Dec 18, 12 12:06 am

I had talked to a couple profs who are on admission committees, and they said photography usually do not give them much, and that "unless you are a professional photographer we don't want to see photography" (quoted). 

Dec 18, 12 12:16 am
Jono Lee

hey man,

i'm also applying to SALA! here's what i think:

-  the sketches can use two things: 1. more confident lines, without the "back and forth/scratching" line drawings many amateurs do... i can understand that you're not coming from a design background, in which case would explain the poor line quality. i also understand that sketches are almost integral to a design portfolio, but in your case it could be detrimental. i would consider redoing them. if you look at the image below, you'll notice that all of his/her lines are confident. its hard to explain what i mean.... but this inherently applies to all kinds of drawing: nudes or architectural...


- in regards to printing your work, you may want to consider dropping the opacity down to about 90-95% on Ps. depending on how you print, it may come out looking very sticky/wet.

Dec 18, 12 12:32 am

Thanks for the feedback. Definitely, some really great points. Here are a few of my questions and concerns.

Sketches: I am not strong yet at this, however I felt a need to include them so the application committee could see that I can communicate ideas and form by putting pen to paper.

Photography: I have personal non-arch photography, but I felt it important to show that I actively engage with and seek out architecture of significance in my life. Especially, because I come from a non-arch related undergraduate degree.

Process: I definitely agree. I need to include concept sketches

Content Page: Programs I'm applying to ask for 20 pages max. I'm currently at 20. Is it worth cutting anything to add a table of content. Most other portfolio I've seen have one.


Much appreciated! 

Dec 18, 12 10:39 am
Kamu Kakizaki

hey i'd cut down on the 'architectural photography' and do hand sketches of architecture and urban spaces. or scuptures. looks like you have a drawing hand so use it! and it show much more about what you see than a snap shot picture. 

also, i'm getting that you've done these small projects but the final outcome isn't as interesting as the process you took to get there. if you have sketch ideas of the cabin/furniture stuff, it will bring more light into your creativity. 

architects don't really read much text in portfolio unless they're really interested. i'd cut down on the text bulging into the images, it looks like the text is more important than the image. maybe do an overlay or separate them so the images stand out stronger. 

Best of luck! 

Dec 18, 12 3:29 pm

Here's an update. Thanks for the suggestions. If you have anything to add, I'd love to hear it.

Dec 21, 12 10:24 pm

I think you should work on those concept drawings more, right now they kinda look like you drew them afterwards (like just sktechy version of the built thing). Maybe show progress in  your drawing, with notes and several iterations. 

Dec 22, 12 1:27 am
Jono Lee

there's a lot of text in the last pages... would the admissions panel read through all of that? most of the stuff you research about each building is probably known by each person already... why re-iterate facts?

Dec 22, 12 2:16 pm

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