The portfolio should include sample works from various stages of your undergraduate degree and any professional work; text should accompany all drawings/images to explain the projects. The portfolio must be in a digital format.
In terms of content a good portfolio conveys:
- The issues (i.e. societal inequality, environmental constraints, economic conditions, pollution) the design wants to solve;
- The opportunities (i.e. local resources, natural light, public transportation) the design wants to expand;
- The decision-making process leading up to the final outcome;
- The final design product and outcome presented with appropriate sets of drawings such as plans, sections, elevations, perspectives, and pictures from physical models;
- Technical understanding (structure, construction, material) underpinning the design;
Only if all these points are clearly explained it is possible for us to assess the ‘thinking’ behind the content presented in the portfolio. These points can be presented through Site Analysis, Development Diagrams, and Technical Drawings (see following sections for more information)
A site analysis will show what are the problems and the opportunities in the site where a project is developed.
A good site analysis shows in many drawings the background information (sun-path, wind directions, infrastructures available, population type, physical constraints, etc,) that informed the decision-making process of a project. A good site analysis is there to show problems and site characteristics that your design wants to solve or address. See the examples below.
A development diagram will show how the final version of the building or infrastructure has been developed. These diagrams will need to convey why you chose to design the building in that way. See the examples below.
Technical drawings will show how the projects can be built, see examples below. These drawings will explain:
- How the building stands up?
- How the building is constructed?
The final design product needs to be displayed appropriately with all sets of essential drawings to show the qualitative value of each project. Plans, sections, elevations, perspectives need to be legible, neat, and beautifully descriptive. Pictures from physical models can also be included to improve the tridimensional value and materiality of each design outcome. See the examples below.
In terms of the presentation, a good portfolio relies on:
- Show a range of your best work
- Don’t include everything
- The drawings need to do the talking. Only a few words should be necessary to describe the project (this is why the development diagrams are so important)
- Make sure the images and drawings are doing the talking
- Put your most recent work first
- Clearly divide the projects developed during your academic career from the ones developed over professional experience
- Outline your contribution to group and professional projects
- Ensure legibility of text and images
- Create a graphically beautiful document with one consistent graphic style
- Drawings from professional work are often illegible. Therefore, they need to be edited to conform with the overall style of the portfolio.
- To avoid cluttering your sheets don’t be afraid to increase the number of sheets for each project.
- To ensure the legibility of text and images try to avoid bright colours which might distract the attention from the content of the drawing.