What should I include in my portfolio?
One of your students has secured an interview for an architecture course and they are thrilled. Only problem is that they have been asked to take a portfolio to the interview and you don’t know what advice to give. How much work is too much? And is it essential to include images of buildings? We asked a few universities and architects for their advice.
Russell Light of Sheffield University told us “Different schools have different requirements, so applicants need to check with each one to see if there is anything specific that they require. In our case, the original piece that we request is something like the view from their window, or of the street in which they live.” Sheffield University have a comprehensive on-line brochure with detailed information and guidance on portfolios which can be found by clicking here.
Ben Prince, a qualified architect established Prince Architects in 2010. Ben advised “Each school will have its own approach, so do your research and try and tailor your portfolio / application to the particular school and play to your strengths. In terms of content I would say to be selective – don’t just ram it full of everything you’ve ever done. I wouldn’t worry if you think you’re lacking in an area (e.g. technical knowledge / architectural history) – that’s what the course is for. So as long as you demonstrate the skills you do have and you are enthusiastic about the subject, then that’s more important.”
The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) issues the following advice; “The purpose of the portfolio is primarily for the student to demonstrate their creative ability and potential… it is important for applicants to select portfolio pieces that represent the range of creative / design skills they have… It is not necessary for the pieces to have an architectural theme.” Gill Swan from UCLan has put together a more detailed summary of requirements to help applicants judge what to include. The UCLan portfolio document can be accessed by clicking here.
Kevin W Singh is the Head of School at Birmingham School of Architecture. Kevin and his BA Course Director advised that applicants should “Demonstrate manual graphic skills; use good quality images (if digital) and re-package analogue drawings; Do not overcrowd the portfolio page (1 work per sheet); clearly state your role esp. in group work; annotate media and provide very brief (2-3 word phrase) hint about each work; be prepared to discuss and present 2-3 works in depth to clarify what inspires you about Architecture / urbanism; identify a photo to discuss issues around urbanisation; demonstrate use of journals / sketchbooks.”
PLACED hopes that the above information is useful for those looking to support students in the application process. Please note that this is not intended as formal guidance and PLACED is not responsible for the accuracy of statements provided by individuals or educational bodies. We strongly recommend your pupils speak to the universities in question to clarify any specific requirements, and wish them all luck and success in securing a place on their chosen course.
Love Architecture? Free pupil workshops (1st May)
PLACED is giving schools the opportunity to get involved in the national Love Architecture Festival this June in partnership with Once Park West, the iconic mixed used apartment building on Liverpool’s waterfront. Places strictly limited!