Portfolio questions- what to include

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Portfolio questions- what to include

Postby Guest » Thu Apr 23, 2009 7:47 pm

I'm going to be applying to 3-year MArch programs for fall 2010 admission, and I'm starting to work on my portfolio. I have a BS in Interior Design and worked in interior design for a few years after graduating. I've read people saying that it's not a good idea to include things like architectural drawings, CAD plans, etc. I have some design projects from school and work that I think are quite good. I basically spent 6 years using AutoCAD at least 5 days a week, so it's not like I just have beginner drawings. Would it be ok for me to include maybe one project from school (floor plan, rendered elevations, etc) and one from my professional career? I do a lot of painting, but a lot of my paintings are still lifes or totally abstract and not particularly architectural- are these ok to include?

As for construction of the portfolio, is it better to have clear plastic sleeves with pages slid in and images mounted onto each page or to have like a page laid out with a graphics program (InDesign, etc.) and then printed like into a bound book?

Postby adiyes » Fri May 01, 2009 12:28 pm

I'm guessing that you're going for master in architecture from interior design background?
If that is so, i think it is good to have the best of your acad dwgs, not to show that you can handle the program but rather your understanding of the architecture/interior drawing.
If you have some architectural renderings, i think it would really help.
All the best.
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Postby KryFreeman » Sun May 10, 2009 2:55 pm

Definitely show stuff from your professional career, but you'll need to specify your level of involvement - was it your design? Were you part of a larger team? Were you just doing production work? That level of involvement speaks to adiyes' response, which is that the plans should address your understanding of the space, since anyone can simply use the program.

Since the M.Arch degree is open to anyone with an undergraduate degree, you may qualify for advanced standing within the program based on your professional work, and your portfolio will demonstrate your experience. I was given advanced standing at 3 schools based on my portfolio.

I am graduating from an art school with an Interior Architecture degree, and will be headed off to to a NAAB accredited M.Arch program this fall, so I was in the same boat. "Interior design" is looked at as simply foofy decoration by some architects, so if you can include acad stuff and renderings, I think you'll be better off, but the point of a portfolio is really to play to your strengths and show your versatility. Personally, I included one project which showed my design process, one project which showcased my structural knowledge, one which showcased my foofy design abilities with materials and fabrics, one that was very conceptual, and one which showed off my rendering and CAD abilities. I also had lots of hand drawings and an entire section devoted to handmade objects to show versatility - architectural models, sculpture, painting, designed objects, furniture.

With the economic downturn, there are more people applying for advanced degrees, so you will face more competition than applicants in previous years. I heard something like there were 60% more applicants for the fall 2009 M.Arch degree than normal - don't quote me, though.

Also, each M.Arch program will be looking at different criteria - some will be more interested in design, some in technical ability or engineering aptitude, some will look for a varied background. It's best to call each program and have a chat, or visit during the semester if possible - each school usually has what they want to see on their website. For example, what you submit to CCA's NAAB accredited program might be different than for MIT.

I recently had a mock interview with a local design firm as part of a "Professional Practices" class, and he was ready to hire me based on my hand drawings alone. Acad drawings were not as important to him. On the other hand, Gensler loved my computer models and plans. So you never know what will float someone's boat on the school's review committee...

As far as the binding goes, it will all depend on the school. I've heard admissions counselors and hiring managers say that simple is better, since they have to look through hundreds of portfolios, so something complicated which takes effort to open is bad. Because I have built my own house (which led off my portfolio), I created something which reflected that look, with Home Depot hardware. Inside were just plastic sleeves with black paper dividers. Every school has restrictions on what you submit, so your binding might affect how many pages are in the portfolio since some schools limit the thickness. A bound book looks really cool, but the practicality of that is questionable, since you can't add things at the last minute, change the order of the contents to reflect the particular school's interests, or update a bound book if you have to order several.

Sorry for the long response...
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Postby pmolds » Fri Mar 05, 2010 11:39 pm

do you have any experice for plastic mold?
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Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2009 8:54 am

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