1st stop internship, next stop MArch II... Couple Question


Hello guys!

Here's the situation: I am a 5th year architecture student and I have been working all my projects, competitions and workshops with the same person since  my 1st year. That person happens to be my fiance who is also a 5th year architecture student. We share the same dreams and ambitions about architecture and thus we would like to ask your opinion on several matters.

We are planning to send applications for internship this summer and next year we are hopefully applying for our MArch II program based in the US.

How does it sound if we send the exact same portfolio, as all the material is 50-50 produced ? And when we say same, we mean format, font, everything.

What about the cover letters?

What are the chances to be accepted at the same time (intership firstly, MArch II secondly)?

Waiting for answers!

Thanks a lot

Feb 17, 13 11:29 am


Feb 18, 13 11:39 am
vado retro

 send half of what you've done as your work and half as fiance's work. i somehow doubt that schools are going to respond well to this Captain and Tennille scenario.

Feb 18, 13 12:50 pm

submitting the same exact thing, is an awful idea. For schools or firms.  

To begin, your putting yourself in a position where its a both or neither situation, which may be great for you, but for the party that is admitting/hiring, that means you're both useless alone.  for individual tasks, or for individual classes and projects, they have no clue if you can even function as a human being, let alone a designer.  It is more likely they would dismiss you both, rather than take the chance.

Second.  Unless you have a hive mind, and are speaking in unison, your personal reflections of projects are going to differ.  Two sentences describing the same thing, with a different structure even, can convey a different interpretation based on emphasis, for example.  Likewise, unless you have the same hands, or are sitting at the computer, one of you with the mouse, the other doing command shortcuts for drawings, I would have a hard time believing the 50-50 production on material (and even that wouldn't be 50-50, lets be real).  You will more likely than not come off as either too lazy to produce your own version, or a plagiarism risk. 

I've been on projects where responsibility has been shared, but there has to be something to delineate who did what, whether it comes down to thoughts or executions, writing or drawing, someone did something, and someone else did something else.  It's fine to include the work of others, but be VERY distinct about roles and responsibilities, and always give credit where it's due.  

I would think, if you each have the same exact work, that you would be trying very hard to find your own personal voice in it, which would lead to two dramatically different portfolio  layouts, with descriptions and interpretations of the projects that tell me who you are as an individual.


cover letters, write them each on your own, don't talk, don't be in the same room, and if this psychic tether of thoughts is that severe, go as far as you have to to be out of range. You are a person, your fiance is a person, and together you HAVE to be, TWO people.

Feb 18, 13 1:13 pm

First of all thank you guys for your responses.

You see, we have been partners for 5 years and the truth is we complete each other. I don't want to say big words, but we have the highest average at our school and he have won several competitions together. We think that this is our force and we would like to find a way to promote this as an advantage. In other words make, what you believe is a "weakness" the reason to be accepted.

We, for sure, don't want to split the works, as we want to both be accepted (schools or firms).

And JWassell, I can't really explain it with words but it is 50-50. When I get stuck somewhere (idea), she brings up her ideas and vice versa. Drawings, the same etc.

Is there anyone here who had encountered the same issue? Or a person who is responsible for reviewing applications to tell us his/her opinion?

Thanks everybody

Feb 18, 13 8:37 pm

I'm not a professional and I didn't bother to read what others have posed but by reading your initial post I would say 

1. If you really, really, REALLY want to use the same portfolio I would recommend applying to different firms. Why? Because yes she completes you but although you worked well in college there is always room for improvement. Go intern at different firms, learn different things, gain different perspectives. When you apply to grad school you will have similar work but you will also have some different work as well. That time apart should buy you some time to come up with a legitimate reasoning to justify using the same work. 

2. Show the same work but edit it differently and give credit to your partner. I really don't see how you can justify using the exact same work throughout 5 years of school but more power to you if you can pull it off. 

Feb 19, 13 12:42 am

This is not new with couples who are architects and complete each other BUT each person is an individual and to be honest, you both are complete individuals but as lovers, would be completing each other emotionally BUT lets be real. You and your intimate other both share responsibility but for each and every work, you both produced different ideas and contributed on different aspects. Tell how you contributed to these projects.

Let your intimate other explain how he/she contributed to the project. Be clear about your roles. It isn't like you both were literally drawing on the same sheet, the same lines, at the same time. Explain clearly what that is.

To be a licensed architect, you need to be able to handle on your own after all, when you take the ARE, you have to pass it on your own. Your intimate other isn't going to have the exact same questions even in the same test center on the same day. You might pass the division while your other might not and have to retake and vice versa. The schools are going to even require that you do the assignments yourselves and if you both submit the same work for an individual assignment, you are going to raise all sorts of problems. Plagarism, Student Conduct and ethics scrutiny, and so on. You or the other could face being expelled from the school if they so chose to. That maybe on the extreme. But you could even be forced to take some different classes or something if they feel that you are having trouble working independently.

Another thing to bear in mind during IDP internship and working for architectural firms. Most firms are hiring one individual for the given position and guess what, they are only going to pick one of you or neither of you. Likely, you both would be shooting yourselves professionally in the feet. You need to have the ability to work and produce design as individuals even if you both work great together. By developing your individual strengths as well as your couple, you both would only be improving your design dynamics together when you work together. You got the group thing down but you need to also have the individual strengths as well. It is both and that is one of the NAAB performance criteria expectation standards of students who graduate from an NAAB accredited architecture program. It is part of the requirements of skills necessary to become licensed and to perform professionally.

I would even say that you need that to even work professionally as a building designer while not licensed. Granted, you can work together but you also need your own ability to fulfill projects and develop your own personal identity while also be able to be complete emotionally together. You need to be able to work both aspects together.

What you don't want to be is two exact copies of each other. You don't want to present that because either of you would make the other redundant which is bad sign in keeping a job. That would put one of you on the layoff list because companies don't want redundancy but collective strengths of staff that each brings a unique contribution to the firm.

Be mindful of that. The schools in their arbitrary policies are often looking to do the same thing which is in some respect to mirror some of that real world aspect. That want you to work in groups with different students and even will assign you so it isn't your choice just so that you get experience working with others and develop your own individual skills. It is about developing each of you.

Instructors who care will do that for your own long term benefit. Note: It isn't about separating you as couples but about developing each other as individuals.

Find a balance with that and enjoy the process of self development and your development together. Find a balance to do both.


Feb 19, 13 1:18 am
Not sure if it is a cultural thing but as North American I don't see the ultra bonding as strength. On practical note you can expect similar reaction from schools in USA most likely. The collective is evil. Like the Borg.

We get portfolios from pairs to work in our office. Sometimes from Europe but usually for some reason from India. If the work was absurdly great I might consider it but so far ...not remotely close.

Feel free to prove everyone wrong but in general wouldn't expect it to be easy. Better to be a pair of strong individuals than a pair that can't stand when apart.
Feb 19, 13 3:31 am

Thank you all guys for your time! It means a lot to me that you are honest.

One last question: What about sending the same projects, but in a completely different way of presentation. Like a different "narrative". Would this still be a problem?

Feb 19, 13 8:21 am

Why have a license for one person? Why doesn't the state just create a license for couples who are architects? The portfolio doesn't just exemplify your individual ability to think creatively and critically, but also showcases your ability to take responsibility and credit. If you can't do the latter- why would I want to hire/work/be an architect who never assumes any responsibility? On a more bureaucratic/legal level, your portfolio is hopefully a means to get a job in order to get a license. If that is your goal/ambition do you also plan on taking the ARE exams together? As someone who has started to take his exams, I can assure you, the ARE's are NOT a group exercise... They test your individual aptitude and readiness to be an architect. Your portfolio is visual summary of this... 

Feb 19, 13 9:08 am
vado retro

save money and time by having only one of you attend school. the other can work on the assignments also and can make dinner and have a job. this way you save money. if, indeed you are so connected and intend to do everything together and be equal etc. you only need one degree and one license. of course, if you ever split up one of you is screwed.

Feb 19, 13 9:27 am

Not to piss on what appears to have been an extraordinarily successful and romantic story, but what was the point of doing all your projects together?  Couldn't you have kept your personal life out of your work? 

Surely there are some projects you, yourself did.  Rendering?  Models?  Drawings?

Feb 19, 13 1:03 pm

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