MArch application portfolio review


Hey, I am in the process of applying for MArch programs, and have compiled a portfolio. I avoided using my personal information because... you never know these days. :P

Thus far I am quite comfortable with this, but I am always looking to improve it, and might add some content in the future. That being said, I would love any input or criticisms you guys might have for me. Please be honest, as I want to make it as good as it can be. A few questions in particular are:

Do I need more/larger renderings? I've seen many portfolios with full page renders and I wonder if mine are too small.

Is there too much text? Some of my pages (page 8) got a little wordy, regardless of how hard I tried to cut down on them.

Is the layout too plain? I'm not much of graphic designer so I tried to err on the side of too plain, wondering if I did too much so.

Maybe do I need more process/generative diagrams? I don't have many early process diagrams or sketches.

Thanks in advance~


Jul 29, 13 11:34 pm

nice portfolio

so will u get an ap for march 1 or not????

Jul 30, 13 1:13 am

I would say you could use some larger drawings in general. Spread out your drawings some. It is really condensed. Give each of your projects a full spread or 2 if need be. Whatever it takes to get them to look nice and allow for easy reading. Too much density and it just looks a little busy.

Jul 30, 13 8:03 am

second this. you have some really nice images; get rid of some of the text and let them breathe. I would also think about another page after the resume and information, it would be good to have a little buffer before you jump right into the projects.

Jul 30, 13 9:28 am

Thanks for the great advice, guys. I can see what you mean about it being too condensed; I've tried to enlarge some images but its tricky. I think I might need to bite the bullet and re-think some of the layouts entirely. I do tend to err on the wordy side so I will definitely apply some triage to my text as well.

@kadam-patil, I'm not entirely sure, I think in Canada there is a good chance I could get a bit of advanced placement (assuming thats what ap means), but I'm not sure if that would be an option elsewhere. I wouldn't mind doing a full course load honestly though, as I love school.

Jul 30, 13 10:50 pm

You need a bigger money shot in each page to make an impact.  Otherwise nice work.

Aug 1, 13 11:50 am

I second others comments.  I would also try to emphasize the title information on each project layout. It gets lost somewhat with the other text.  This may take care of iteself if/when you tone the text down.

Where are you applying for M.Arch?  I'm readying my portfolio to apply for MLA school next fall also.  Am also considering the new UBC Urban Design MAster program.

Aug 1, 13 4:09 pm

I agree with what has been said for the most part. After I was accepted into my graduate program, I was told that 95% of the time, none of the text in your portfolio gets read. I think that most people in the position of authority are looking at your ability to construct a cohesive and concise piece of work that is visually appealing. 

I think minimizing the amount of text and spreading things out a little more would go a long way. Perhaps use some of your better images as part of the background instead of making every image it's own little box. I also love that you have diagrams and a lot of process, not just the 'Final' project. That is always a plus in the eye of someone evaluating you!

Aug 1, 13 7:20 pm

Thanks for all the comments, it is great to get feedback. Up until now I've been working on this in kind of a vacuum; it gets hard to evaluate your own work in that context.

@AaronPerspective I'm thinking of UBC, and U of T for sure in Canada, and probably some American schools and the AA in London. I'm not so sure if I would want to pay a higher tuition but I'll cross that road if I come to it.

In my degree ( BEND) we had several classes with profs who teach in the MLA program at UBC, there were some really great and knowledgeable people so I think UBC would be a good school for that. The MUD looks quite interesting, I didn't know it existed! Personally though I'm definitely more interested in architecture. Urban design seems quite intimidating in the sense that every action has a political dimension.

Aug 3, 13 10:20 pm

Have you thought about making your layout portrait, as opposed to landscape? There is a lot of information on each page and it seems from the layout, each page could easily turn into a spread in portrait format.  Portrait is also easier to handle and read physically. There is a lot of nice process work in your portfolio, but I agree with other comments which are suggesting larger images, perhaps even one or two full spread images. I am not sure of length limits for your applications, but if possible declutter the pages, and have your portfolio longer.

Aug 4, 13 11:41 pm

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