How To Create An Epic Architectural Portfolio That Lands You Your Dream Internship​

How To Create An Epic Architectural Portfolio That Lands You Your Dream Internship​

September 13, 2022
How to create an Epic Architectural Portfolio that lands you your Dream Internship

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Architecture is a challenging yet fulfilling profession, it may or may not be everyone’s cup of tea. The tough culture of architecture schools tries to prepare the young naive students to face the real competitive world. As per The Wire, over 20,000 architecture graduates enter the profession every year competing against one another to get into the best firms.  

Even before students graduate, they’re made to face the real world through internships that are a part of the coursework. These internships are their first step into the vast field of the profession of architecture. Students often struggle to get their dream internships as they are consumed by several doubts, sheer skepticism, and hesitation.

When it comes to applying for internships, students are expected to compile an architecture portfolio. This portfolio is a representation of the student’s skill and knowledge as an architect. It is therefore important for you to portray your abilities in the best way possible.

But, how to create an epic portfolio architectural portfolio that lands you your dream internship? Let’s first start with the basics.

An architecture portfolio is an expression of your design style and ancillary skills. The ideal architecture internship portfolio should follow a basic framework and adhere to a few guidelines.

  1. Length: Every firm gets plenty of portfolio applications and no one has the time to browse through endless portfolios. The ideal length of the portfolio can be between 30-35 pages.
  2. Size: If you’re sending your portfolio across as an attachment in an email, try sticking to a maximum file size of 5Mb or less. Most firms get discouraged if they’re required to download heavy files. There are chances wherein they may not even open your portfolio if the size is heavy and requires them to wait.
  3. Cover Page: The cover page is the first impression of your portfolio, why not start with a bang? Create a striking unique cover page that instantly makes the recruiter curious to know more.
  4. Resume: A CV or resume is an essential introduction that gives a gist about your identity, where you come from, and your academic credentials. Articulate adequate information in a crisp and clear manner.
  5. Graphical Presentation: Apart from portfolio content, the way you present your work matters significantly. Having good graphics with a suitable color scheme is important for making an epic architectural internship portfolio.

But all these are conventional guidelines, how do you make sure that your portfolio cuts above the rest? We have curated a list of 12 must-have things in your internship architectural portfolio that can effectively help in representing your personality better.

12 Must-have Things to include in your Portfolio

  1. Best Projects Only

12 Must-have Things to include in your Portfolio

Image Credits : Archisoup

No matter how tempted you are to present all the wonderful works you’ve curated throughout the course of your architectural education, you cannot include everything. A portfolio is about displaying your best works. Your first and second-year projects may not make the cut here, and that’s all right. Ideally, you should include 4-6 projects that exemplify your design skills.

2. Engage with Storytelling  

 Engage with Storytelling

Source: Archdaily

Your internship portfolio should be a collection of projects that have come together to narrate a story. Try to narrate a story, and combine all your projects with a binding thread to create a lasting impression on the reviewer. This thread could be the hierarchical progression of scale and complexity in your projects. It could also be a common concept that is used in all your projects.  

Source: illustrach

While your architectural design work holds more significance, don’t be afraid to jazz it up with other creative endeavors. Including different competition works and allied design projects, displays versatility. It could be of great use if you want to show your interest in working on special subjects.

  1. Strive for Consistency

Source: Pinterest

Your undergraduate architecture portfolio should be a holistic booklet, an assembly of your works. It shouldn’t feel like a collage of the different projects you did in school. In most cases, your designs will have subtle similarities indicating your design style, highlight them. Let your portfolio speak for your personality as a designer.

  1. Create a diverse Mixed Bag

Source: illustrach

It is important to show a diverse range of skills and knowledge that you’ve picked from the years of education. Typically an architecture internship portfolio must include design drawings, technical drawings, and views. Additionally, you can also incorporate sketches, illustrations, images of physical models, visualizations, etc.  

  1. Narrate the Back-Story

Source: illustrach

On average, students design one project per semester. These long months of conceptualization, designing, and detail working culminate in the final presentation. The process of design is as relevant as the final product. It points out what you prioritize, and how you approach and tackle problems as an architect. Show this evolution in your portfolio, and let the reviewer understand how creatively you think.

  1. Add Crafted Details

Source: Pinterest

Working drawings are important to show your much-valued technical skills. However, including technical details just for the sake will take you nowhere. Every single detail you include in your portfolio must be crafted, it should be worthy of a discussion.

  1. Identify your Niche

Source: redokun

Your academic course may have brought you to a realization about your design interests. In this vast field of architectural design, some topics interest you more than others. For instance,  you may enjoy designing residential buildings over commercial projects. Identify and showcase these niches in your portfolio, it’ll help you choose and justify the right architecture firm for your internship.

  1. Highlight Traits at par with the Firm’s Work

Source: archdaily

You need to tweak your portfolio to match different firms’ design styles. The same portfolio cannot justify your relevance in different firms. Highlighting the similarities in your portfolio and the firm’s design sensibilities or aesthetics as it helps you get hired.

  1. Include the Wonders of Teamwork

Source: illustrach

Architecture is a multidisciplinary and collaborative field. Being a team player is a valuable skill. You can highlight your teamwork spirit by including brief descriptions and depictions of group projects. The wondrous group projects that are created by the collective intelligence of many are an asset to your portfolio. (Remember the complex documentation projects)

  1. Show Bits of Everything in a Miscellaneous section

Source: illustrach

The personal creative explorations of sketches, photography, and write-ups should be a part of your portfolio. No need to neglect those elective projects, extra-curricular work, and competition entries. Let bits of everything you’re proud of form a well-composed collage in a miscellaneous section.

  1. Give a Gist of ‘You

Source: archdaily

A portfolio speaks for your personality even when you’re not physically present to showcase it. Showcase the facets of your personality subtly throughout your portfolio. Be it in the form of a bold color palette representing your bold personality or an articulated language to depict your interest in theory. Leave bits and pieces of ‘You’ in it.

What cuts you above the rest?

Your architectural portfolio is your identity and preparation for laying your first step into the professional realm. Why should it be anything less than the best? Use these tips to create an epic architectural portfolio that lands you your dream internship.

Want to know more on how you can create a portfolio that best represents you?

Join The Portfolio Masterclass with Studio Layout Academia, and create your best architecture portfolio under the guidance of our expert mentors. Learn about portfolio making live, get your portfolio reviewed, and become our lifetime WhatsApp member where we address all your queries.  


  1. How to create an architecture portfolio?

Start by analyzing your old designs and selecting the works that you want to include in your architecture portfolio. Followed by deciding on the graphical theme, and presentation style, and finally composing them on a suitable software to create the perfect compilation of your works.

  1. What should be the size of an architecture portfolio?

The file size of an architecture portfolio sent as an attachment can be around 5Mb or less.

  1. How many projects should I include in my architecture portfolio?

An undergraduate architectural portfolio should contain around 4-6 projects.

  1. How long should an architecture portfolio be?

An architectural internship portfolio should be a maximum of 30-35 pages long.

  1. What should be in an architectural portfolio?

An architectural portfolio should speak for your architectural design and allied skills. It must contain a mix of design drawings, technical drawings, 3D renders, diagrams, illustrations, etc.

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