What are some tips for preparing a successful architecture portfolio?

Hello everyone!

If you have questions like the ones below, you are in the right place.

How to prepare a successful Portfolio for Architecture Graduate school applications?

How to write a statement of purpose to get admission to the master’s degree in architecture?


Let’s check some important things to keep in mind when preparing your portfolio;

1- Take multiple photos of all the models and projects you have created. Examine what the model looks like by reflecting light from different angles. Once you have the most accurate light(s), take photos so that you would increase your chance. The most important point you should check when choosing the pictures that you put in your portfolio is that there is no element that disturbs the image in the background. It definitely needs to be of a clean quality. You can create your own background using black foam or cardboard. As an example, I add a picture of my own project.

2- Add physical models into your portfolio. You might have an excellent “drafting” ability, but if you ignore the message of something abstract and tangible, it may show that you don’t know how to turn your drawings into a real structure!

3- Sketching, sketching, and sketching! The most important element of your portfolio is the hand sketch you create. Please don’t forget that thanks to the digital age, everyone can learn sketching programs and create digital drawings of the same quality as you do, but not everyone can make hand-sketching. Adding this to your portfolio shows you’re literally a “craftsman.” In addition, working with sketches gives you access to novel building shapes, concepts, and lines in different ways. Also, note that it cannot be succeeded by just looking at the computer screen. The trio of hands, hearts, and ideas emerges here.

4- The size of the portfolio you have chosen should be carefully considered based on what universities are required, but keep in mind that it should be of a size that is not too big and suitable for easy browsing. Standard portfolio size is generally 8.5 “x 11” because it allows you to distribute your items without compressing each other and gives you the space required for your own page design. I personally prefer 6 “x 9” as it reaches 12 “x 18” side by side. If you design a portfolio in this size, you can easily adapt it to almost any university’s portfolio size without having any difficulty. Meanwhile, the Harvard School of Design also recommends 12 “x18”;)

5- Be sure to put a page number on each page in the same place as your other pages. As everything else, it should be consistent too.

6- Start your portfolio with your most powerful project and finish with another powerful project. Please note that the committee members who will review your graduate application will look at your portfolio for only 15 minutes. No more, probably less, that’s all. Therefore, the projects that they will remember would be the ones that most will be the ones that they see first and last when closing in your portfolio.

The best time to start your portfolio, my friend, is now. You will succeed if you work while everyone else does not.

We hope this post has given you a deeper understanding of the portfolio process and how it affects your application. 

Keep following Archipedy for more inspiring content on portfolios.

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