Why building a smart design portfolio is everything

A proposal for a research facility in the state of San Diego. Images courtesy of the designer

When you apply to design and architecture schools – or any art school, for that matter – your portfolio is the best representation of your work over time. They illustrate the subjects that fascinate you the most in your professional and creative life.

We interviewed Harpreet Basi, a fifth year undergraduate architecture student at the NewSchool of Architecture & Design, about developing his portfolio. She displays renderings of proposed projects – a college entrance hall, plans for a private house, sketches of student accommodation, filled with process diagrams as well as graphic designs in the form of posters and media. marketing.

In designing a sustainable private residence, Basi asks, why not create buildings that react to environmental changes like our skin reacts to heat or wind? The proposal outlines the ventilation and wind patterns for an Arizona home in a series of sketches and design perspectives across the seasons. In his portfolio, we can read that Basi is most interested in sustainable and responsive architecture to transport us into the future. So we asked him a few questions about the school of architecture and the design of his portfolio during his studies.

The Creators Project: What’s the best advice someone gave you when applying to a design school?

Harpreet basi: The best advice I received while applying to design school was to never get so carried away by an idea that you didn’t stop yourself from doing something better. It is important to let yourself explore as many options as possible. If you are really focused on your intention and purpose, I have found that the design will follow if you allow it.

Be honest. Was it difficult to put together your portfolio?

Putting together my portfolio wasn’t incredibly difficult, but it took time. Getting the details right took the most time. They might not have seemed incredibly important on their own, but that’s what really brings a portfolio together. I like to think that you DON’T want people to notice the little changes and the notes you made. It should be so transparent that people find it easy to read.

Who was most helpful in building your portfolio?

I took a layout course last winter and I really think it helped me put everything together for my portfolio. Portfolios are very graphics-oriented – you need to grab people’s attention before you can explain the rest of your work. The most useful exercise we did was finding magazines and books with a nice layout and then dissecting them to see why they were so attractive.

How has your portfolio changed over time?

My portfolio has changed dramatically since my first application to the NewSchool of Architecture & Design, and less since. Once I finalized a graphic style that I wanted to continue, it didn’t change much. Now I swap and add projects that I think best reflect my skills and my way of thinking.

Proposal for a research facility in the State of San Diego.

Why is a wallet important?

Portfolios are our way of expressing who we are in our field. Notes are important and can describe your work ethic, but they can’t tell someone what you’ve actually learned or can actually do. A portfolio is the most effective way to visually let someone see your creativity and what’s going on in your head.

What was the most important and professionally and artistically relevant experience that fueled your admission to school?

I didn’t want to become a licensed architect by learning from one firm. At school, you have endless possibilities to learn from different people: students, teachers and professionals. I saw school as a way to learn from several people and industry leaders, while actively pursuing my goal of becoming a Certified Architect.

A proposal for a student accommodation center

What’s the worst advice someone has given you when applying to a design school?

That doing something right means staying awake all night. I don’t know where this story started, but I couldn’t disagree with it more. It really is a question of time management. I was able to participate in more than one area of ​​the school, perform well in the studio, and get a good amount of sleep.

What do you hope to do once you graduate?

When I graduate, I hope to work for a company that does the things that fascinate me during my studies. Wherever it takes me, I just hope I’m in an office that doesn’t accept the status quo of what architecture should be, and instead challenges the limits of the existing architectural model.

graphic works for student events 2014-2015

To learn more about the NewSchool of Architecture & Design, click here.


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Abdul J. Gaspar

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