Undergraduate Architecture

Portfolio Guidelines: Undergraduate Architecture

It is not required to submit a portfolio for undergraduate architecture programs. However, there are two reasons why applicants for undergraduate architecture may be asked to submit a portfolio: If the applicant is transferring credits and seeking advanced placement or if the applicant does not meet the minimum GPA requirements.

Students with no architectural background:

As a student interested in art or design, you probably already have several examples of your work that can form the basis of a good portfolio.

To create a successful portfolio, ask yourself the following questions:
1. Can the portfolio tell a story about who I am and why my work deserves attention?
2. What type of work best represents my multiple artistic abilities and draws attention to the type of design I’m interested in studying?
3. Have I selected my best work?
4. When and how do I emphasize certain aspects of my work?

First year entry level applicants should demonstrate elemental understanding of 3 dimensional form and space, composition, and basic understanding of light/shadow, depth and color through sketches, drawings, photography, crafts, sculptures, etc.

While there is no one type of successful portfolio, do remember that the reviewer is curious to see your best work and will make a decision based on the creativity you display. We recommend that you edit your work by presenting each project in a clear, concise, and legible manner. Do not include too many projects. Think of the progression of your work; do you want to show how each project builds on another or are they standalone projects that show your diverse talents?

Finally, and most importantly, have fun, express yourself, believe in your work, and do not be afraid to show your talent, aspirations, and dreams. You are applying to a design school and your interest demonstrates a desire to create something unique that will touch many people around you.

Students with architectural backgrounds:

Students with academic background in design related fields may receive Advanced Standing and be placed in a higher-level design studio. The portfolio is a self-presentation tool that creatively communicates the students’ design outlook and level of development through a variety of media and skill sets. The portfolio should include a selection of design works and at least one example of the development of design work in the area of interest (architecture or interior design)

The portfolio will be assessed by the following criteria:
1. Ability to develop convincing visual narratives, through graphic presentation methods and written descriptions that convey the design development process: research and inspirational material, concept generation, study models and drawings that demonstrate process/thinking and final presentation of design solution.
2. Demonstration of fundamental abilities to design and communicate design solutions using two and/or three dimensional representation skills in any media (digital, hand drawings, sketching, drafting, modeling) as they relate to: plans, elevations, perspectives, models, space planning, diagramming and distribution, layouts, forms, colors and finishing aspects.
3. Demonstration of an understanding of functional and experiential issues related to the design of architecture, built environments and/or artifacts such as: structural, environmental and building systems, spatial generation, organization, perception and design solutions, and specific project results reflecting contextual and programmatic demands.
4. Ability to effectively organize the graphics and visuals of the overall portfolio, including titles, styles, page composition, references and information hierarchies.
5. Show examples of work that you have completed outside of your education/training (photography, paintings, sculptures, music, etc.) that will help set you apart from other applicants.

What do we mean when we say Design?

Design is original work produced by the prospective student, where a given problem is to be resolved by means of careful construction of form, in model and/or drawing, in two and/or three dimensions. This work can be executed by analog or digital means.

Portfolio Format

Portfolios may be submitted in either paper or electronic format. Please follow specifications outlined below. Online portfolio links will NOT be accepted. The use of wood, metal, glass, or plastic in hard copy portfolios is NOT acceptable. There is no minimum or maximum number of required pages, but a table of contents should be included in either format and applicants are expected to submit 6-8 projects (not pages).

These projects can include sketches, fine art drawings, or photography as well as architectural design, interior design, space planning, renderings, and photographs of models. Provide descriptions for each assignment/project submitted and include diagrams, drawings, and study models that exemplify the conceptual development of the project.

Creativity and self-expression are important and should be apparent through the use of selected materials and formats documenting the applicant’s work. All work should be the student’s own. The student’s individual contribution to any group or professional design project should be clearly delineated. All projects should include titles, the dates that the work was completed, the course title and number, and whether the work was done for academic, professional, or personal purposes.

Font size is important! Please consider the quality and size of font for committee review purposes.

Portfolio Specification:

Contact Information: Name, home address, phone number, email address
Paper Format: 8.5 X 11
Landscape or Portrait Orientation
Premium quality paper with a spiral-binding on the left-hand side
Clear plastic cover with vinyl back
Electronic Format: Use pdf. Files with a maximum resolution of 300 dpi submitted on a CD-Rom

Applicants are encouraged to submit material that doesn’t specifically conform to the usual techniques used in architecture or interior design. These can be executed in a variety of media forms, either analog or digital: video, website, blogs, animation, etc.

Download a copy of the portfolio guidelines.