New to this year is the portfolio workshop series, a joint venture sponsored by AIAS and NOMAS. At the end of last fall semester, I presented the idea of creating a portfolio class. Throughout my time as an architecture student, I have seen copious amounts of anxiety in my peers when it comes to the topic of portfolios, so I decided it was time our college needed a class. I initially proposed to have a workshop every week, but we reduced it to a three part series to better “tease” the possibility of a future class and actually gauge how much interest there was in the topic. After the impressive showing to the first workshop featuring Jennifer Bonner’s presentation on graphic design, it was obvious that students needed direction.
In the architectural profession, it is virtually impossible to have a career without a good portfolio. This compilation of an architecture student’s work is a visual story of his or her’s architectural education. The portfolio is an example of the student’s work in and of itself, as (excluding online portfolios) these booklets are meant to be carefully organized and designed from the cover page to the ending abstract. Some graduate school will not even look at a student’s portfolio solely off the fact that the cover page is underwhelming in design. There is a lot of pressure on not only students, but also professionals, to put together and completely design these portfolios. After all, our profession is not based off only whether or not you can perform a set of skills or have a certain GPA (i.e. any kind of engineering). It is based off of our own design understanding. Our own design style. And whether or not you meet the design standards of a Princeton or an OMA is purely based off of the portfolio.
The hopes behind this new workshop series was not only to generate interest in creating a class next semester, but also to generate interest in design as a whole. By seeing examples of beautifully designed work organized effectively onto an 11×17 booklet, students should have a desired interest to match or even surpass those designs. These workshops are meant to not only direct students, but motivate them. I hope to see this not only generate better student work, but better student presentation, because in the end, it is not just what you are selling, but how you sell it.