Ucl architecture portfolio questions

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yingyang0202
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#1
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#1
Planning on applying to UCL for Architecture, however I'm confused about the whole portfolio scenario.

Still not sure if there will in person interviews this year due to covid, but if it does end up being in person:

How should my portfolio look?
Like can I just print off my digital portfolio and show them that or do I have to bring in all the work included in my digital portfolio for them to look at? (for example, in my digital portfolio, if I include an image of a sketch I did, do I have to bring in the actual sketch?) All of my work is quite big for me to bring in for the interview as well (except for like a few small sketches)

How do I present my portfolio?
Like do I make a booklet out of it or do I just bring in all the pieces and hand it to them? Do I include writing?

Also if you have already applied for UCL Architecture, I would greatly appreciate if you showed me an example of your portfolio )
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MeliM
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#2
Report 8 months ago
#2
Hi I'm also applying to the bartlett for architecture and I'm a bit confused too. They've updated their website for the application process which also includes information about the interview and how to present your portfolio depending if you come in person or if you do your interview online
https://www.ucl.ac.uk/bartlett/archi...graduate-study that's the link to the web btw.
and about including writing for the portfolio, I know some people do include some writing (only a little) but they want to talk about your work in the interview so I don't think writing is mandatory.
I hope that helps a bit.... for your portfolio btw have you only included your final piece or have you showed how you developed the piece because I'm a bit confused on that bit?

(Original post by yingyang0202)
Planning on applying to UCL for Architecture, however I'm confused about the whole portfolio scenario.

Still not sure if there will in person interviews this year due to covid, but if it does end up being in person:

How should my portfolio look?
Like can I just print off my digital portfolio and show them that or do I have to bring in all the work included in my digital portfolio for them to look at? (for example, in my digital portfolio, if I include an image of a sketch I did, do I have to bring in the actual sketch?) All of my work is quite big for me to bring in for the interview as well (except for like a few small sketches)

How do I present my portfolio?
Like do I make a booklet out of it or do I just bring in all the pieces and hand it to them? Do I include writing?

Also if you have already applied for UCL Architecture, I would greatly appreciate if you showed me an example of your portfolio )
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SebastianMesser
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#3
Report 8 months ago
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(Original post by MeliM)
…for your portfolio btw have you only included your final piece or have you showed how you developed the piece because I'm a bit confused on that bit?
Speaking for myself, not any particular institution, what I look for in a portfolio is:

Process - at interview, I want to know what interests you and how you go about it. The final piece is often the least interesting element of the process.
Narrative - think of your portfolio like a box set, each project is an episode, but don’t forget the ‘meta-narrative arc’ - what story will your interviewer remember after speaking with you about your work?
Interest in the subject - show why you want to study architecture (but don’t “design a building” - you wouldn’t go to a posh restaurant and insist on cooking scrambled eggs!) if you are doing an EPQ, or have an essay in Art, use it to find out about something that you are really interested in (I wrote about fabric structures, for example). While you are going to university to study architecture, it’s also not hard to look beyond the cliched answers: Fosters, FLW, Gehry, Gaudi, Hadid, Rogers!
Skills - show as wide a range of skills, approaches and media as possible but, in particular, work that demonstrates 3D awareness and physical making; drawing from life (not from photos) - I would always recommend life drawing classes as the gold standard, but you can carry a small sketchbook and get confident in recording things that interest you. In architecture, sketching is a way of working things out - you don’t want tentative, ‘hairy’ sketches, so it can be good practice at first to use a thick, bold pen rather than a pencil.

Writing Generally-speaking there is little point in showing an essay because no one will have time to read it. However, it will help to navigate the portfolio if you provide titles to the work. If it is an electronic portfolio especially, I would also recommend brief ‘reflections’ - this is why I did this/ what I wanted to find out; this is what I actually found out by doing it; this is what I carried forward to the next piece or what I did next (and then repeat…) - see ‘narrative’.

If you are going to be presenting in person at an interview, practice. The great thing about a portfolio is it is a prop that you can use to control the speed and direction of the conversation. But if it is upside down or out of order, you will quickly get flustered and the last thing you want in an interview is extra stress!

You can also use your Personal Statement to help direct the interview. One of the most memorable I have seen had the opening line, “Why paint dead pigs?” But they backed this up with amazing paintings of carcasses, exploring both the medium painted on, and the media they were painting with, to communicate the nature of the subject. Another memorable interview was with an applicant who was passionate about the car parks in Sheffield - while they did not know anything ‘conventionally’ historically architectural, their description of the cladding and lighting were architectural observations.

Finally, remember that the interviewer is discussing your work, not making criticisms of you. The application/interview process is trying to ascertain if you are compatible with that university’s approaches and that you will do well in that institution. Of course it hurts if you receive a criticism or are rejected, but that is also part of the learning process of studying arts-based subjects like Architecture. Try to maintain a critical distance and don’t get mad or sad!

However, an interview also goes two-ways: you want to know if this is the environment in which you will thrive and produce your best work. So think now about what you need/ are looking for, e.g. size of cohorts/ teaching groups, studio/ space to work, facilities, etc. Irrespective of the ‘reputation’ of the university (usually based on spurious metrics!), your time will be largely in the department/school of architecture, so what it feels like, is a good instinct to listen to.
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MeliM
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#4
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#4
(Original post by SebastianMesser)
Speaking for myself, not any particular institution, what I look for in a portfolio is:

Process - at interview, I want to know what interests you and how you go about it. The final piece is often the least interesting element of the process.
Narrative - think of your portfolio like a box set, each project is an episode, but don’t forget the ‘meta-narrative arc’ - what story will your interviewer remember after speaking with you about your work?
Interest in the subject - show why you want to study architecture (but don’t “design a building” - you wouldn’t go to a posh restaurant and insist on cooking scrambled eggs!) if you are doing an EPQ, or have an essay in Art, use it to find out about something that you are really interested in (I wrote about fabric structures, for example). While you are going to university to study architecture, it’s also not hard to look beyond the cliched answers: Fosters, FLW, Gehry, Gaudi, Hadid, Rogers!
Skills - show as wide a range of skills, approaches and media as possible but, in particular, work that demonstrates 3D awareness and physical making; drawing from life (not from photos) - I would always recommend life drawing classes as the gold standard, but you can carry a small sketchbook and get confident in recording things that interest you. In architecture, sketching is a way of working things out - you don’t want tentative, ‘hairy’ sketches, so it can be good practice at first to use a thick, bold pen rather than a pencil.

Writing Generally-speaking there is little point in showing an essay because no one will have time to read it. However, it will help to navigate the portfolio if you provide titles to the work. If it is an electronic portfolio especially, I would also recommend brief ‘reflections’ - this is why I did this/ what I wanted to find out; this is what I actually found out by doing it; this is what I carried forward to the next piece or what I did next (and then repeat…) - see ‘narrative’.

If you are going to be presenting in person at an interview, practice. The great thing about a portfolio is it is a prop that you can use to control the speed and direction of the conversation. But if it is upside down or out of order, you will quickly get flustered and the last thing you want in an interview is extra stress!

You can also use your Personal Statement to help direct the interview. One of the most memorable I have seen had the opening line, “Why paint dead pigs?” But they backed this up with amazing paintings of carcasses, exploring both the medium painted on, and the media they were painting with, to communicate the nature of the subject. Another memorable interview was with an applicant who was passionate about the car parks in Sheffield - while they did not know anything ‘conventionally’ historically architectural, their description of the cladding and lighting were architectural observations.

Finally, remember that the interviewer is discussing your work, not making criticisms of you. The application/interview process is trying to ascertain if you are compatible with that university’s approaches and that you will do well in that institution. Of course it hurts if you receive a criticism or are rejected, but that is also part of the learning process of studying arts-based subjects like Architecture. Try to maintain a critical distance and don’t get mad or sad!

However, an interview also goes two-ways: you want to know if this is the environment in which you will thrive and produce your best work. So think now about what you need/ are looking for, e.g. size of cohorts/ teaching groups, studio/ space to work, facilities, etc. Irrespective of the ‘reputation’ of the university (usually based on spurious metrics!), your time will be largely in the department/school of architecture, so what it feels like, is a good instinct to listen to.
Thank you
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