For some undergraduates and graduates, the assembly of a portfolio seems to be the signal for some oncoming doom. However, there aren’t many classes that teach what the ideal portfolio looks like, and even less transfer the theory of architecture into the architecture portfolio.
Recently, a classmate explained his ideas on how his portfolio would look. He claimed he would strip the original context of each project in his undergraduate career and re-contextualize them to refer to each other. While he is entitled to do just that, I realized the importance of keeping the original context intact.
What each of our designs is, ultimately, a solution to a problem, and an answer to a question. The difficulty is not only in designing the solution and answer, but also in expressing the problem in the final design. The “simplest” method would be in a strong design that follows a strict diagrammatic process. Many architecture students should know that this process isn’t simple as it seems, and requires clarity and effort.
Our portfolios should also appeal to each audience for which it is intended. For example, a graduate school will most likely want to see something different than a firm. Even those can differ. For example, HOK would expect something different than OMA. MIT and U. Penn. are also an example of dichotomous outlooks. Like any building or installation we design, our portfolio should serve a purpose. There is an intrinsic difficulty in this purpose, that the purpose is us; we have to be calculative and methodical in what we invest so much in—physically, mentally, and emotionally.
A portfolio, it seems, should have no less the pedagogical objectives we are used to, and we should follow the same rules we learn in the studio environment. Most importantly, a portfolio is something that reflects our work. It’s something we can learn from, and something that can tell us where we might go next. We are not often asked to categorize and coalesce all that we have learned in a semester. With a portfolio, we can do just that, but with our entire collegiate experience.
Thus far, of course.
[ hamza hasan, issue_5, volume_1 ]