What Should I Put In My Architecture Portfolio

Overview of the Architecture Portfolio

An architecture portfolio can be a vital tool for any aspiring architect. It allows potential employers to get an idea of your background, project experience, and knowledge of architectural principles. It also gives a glimpse of your skills as a designer and communicator. Creating an effective portfolio takes time and a great deal of thought, but the results can make a real difference to your career prospects.

What Makes a Good Architecture Portfolio?

A good portfolio creates an impression of creativity, professionalism and commitment. When put together effectively, the portfolio should showcase the breadth of skills, experiences and understanding that the architect has. There are a few core elements that make for an effective portfolio: technical drawings, writing, imagery, graphic design, modelling and project management.

Technical Drawings

In the portfolio, technical drawings demonstrate the range of design, construction and engineering capabilities. The drawings should include both plan and profile views, along with axonometric and perspective views of the proposed structures. Furthermore, colour drawings and 3D visualisations should be included to further demonstrate skill in other mediums. Aspiring architects should also demonstrate their capacity for documenting and producing drawings with accuracy and clarity.


In addition to technical drawings, a portfolio should also include writing about the projects included. This provides potential employers with an idea of how the architect communicates the design intent, and how well the architect comprehends the concepts and theories of architecture. Writing may include a description of the project, an analysis of the design process, a review of related materials, recommendations for developing the project concept, and critiques of existing projects in the field.


Photographs and other types of imagery should also be included. This provides further evidence of the architect’s skills and allows potential employers to gain an appreciation of the project in its physical form. Furthermore, the use of imagery should be used to demonstrate particular features of the project, narrative sequence or the use of materials.

Graphic Design

Presentation is important in any portfolio, and graphic design elements are a great way to make a portfolio stand out and capture the reader’s attention. The portfolio should feature a range of graphic design techniques including layout, typography, texture, colour and pattern. In addition, graphic design elements can also be used to communicate and emphasise the concept of a project.


Computer modelling is a great way to show off a project. Models can be used to explain the design form, demonstrate the use of materials and lighting, and reveal the intricate detailing of a project. Computer-generated models are easy to scale and can be used to generate views quickly, with great accuracy and detail. Furthermore, 3D Modelling software is becoming a vital part in the design process, so being proficient in this medium is an advantage.

Project Management

Architects should be able to demonstrate their ability to manage a project, from initial design through to construction. This includes demonstrating an understanding of working collaboratively with other professionals and budgeting. In the portfolio, this can be done by including a timeline overview and the number of revisions made to the project.

Organisation and Structure

Organisation is essential for any portfolio. Aspiring architects should ensure each project is laid out clearly and can be easily understood and referenced. Each page of the portfolio should include a caption to summarise the project and include information such as the location and year of completion. Finally, the portfolio should include a table of contents so employers can easily find the relevant projects.

Preparing the Portfolio

It’s important to spend time preparing the portfolio before presenting it to potential employers. It is important to make sure the portfolio is visually exciting and easy to navigate. This includes taking time to create an effective design template, editing the content down and making sure the material has been organised in a logical order. An effective portfolio should be engaging, yet professional and organised.

Marketing the Portfolio

Marketing the portfolio should not be overlooked. Architects should think about how to best communicate the portfolio itself and who is the best audience. This could include submitting the portfolio for an award or exhibiting it at an event. Furthermore, creating an online presence is also an effective way of presenting the portfolio, as well as offering an opportunity to showcase new projects that are not included in the printed portfolio.

Making an Impression

The portfolio should be used to demonstrate the architect’s ideas and creativity, while showcasing their technical ability and understanding of architectural principles. It should be used to make an impression, leaving the reader wanting to know more about the architect and their work. With effective preparation and organisation, the portfolio should be an effective tool that can open up new career opportunities.


Presentation is key when presenting a portfolio. This includes the physical presentation of the work, as well as the manner in which the portfolio is presented to the reader. Aspiring architects should pay attention to the finer details such as the size and weight of the portfolio, the tactile elements of the portfolio and the bindings used. Furthermore, the presentation of the work should be clinical yet creative, demonstrating an understanding of artistic expression as well as technical ability.

Interview Technique

When presenting the portfolio, it is equally important to remember that the presentation of the self is as important as the presentation of the portfolio. Aspiring architects should pay attention to what they wear, body language and verbal communication. The interview should be used to showcase enthusiasm and knowledge, while also leaving a lasting impression that stands out from the competition.


Networking with both industry professionals and potential employers is also an effective way to promote an architecture portfolio. This can be done through attending industry events, exhibitions and online forums. Networking is a great way to find new opportunities and to demonstrate an understanding of the larger industry. Furthermore, it allows aspiring architects to gain valuable insight from professionals in the field.

Creating an Online Presence

An online presence is also essential for any aspiring architect. This can be done through blogs, social media and website portfolios. This allows aspiring architects to showcase their work to a larger audience and shows a commitment to the profession. Furthermore, having an online presence can make it easier to find job opportunities and connect with potential employers.

Anita Johnson is an award-winning author and editor with over 15 years of experience in the fields of architecture, design, and urbanism. She has contributed articles and reviews to a variety of print and online publications on topics related to culture, art, architecture, and design from the late 19th century to the present day. Johnson's deep interest in these topics has informed both her writing and curatorial practice as she seeks to connect readers to the built environment around them.

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