There are countless different fields of architecture, and your specialization can strengthen or weaken your love for your profession. Though it might be overwhelming to choose, we’re here to make it easier.
Here are five types of architects and what their portfolios look like. See which one resonates with you the most.
Designing homes is a rewarding area of architecture, as it’s generally less stressful than industrial or commercial projects. However, it also involves more client management and less creative freedom due to budgetary restrictions.
The aim of any residential project is to create functional, personalized, and comfortable spaces that cater to the homeowner's preferences and lifestyle. That’s what your portfolio should highlight.
Here’s an example:
- Nice renders and professional photography are important (give credit to the photographer).
- Include your inspiration (it helps to tell your story).
- Don’t overwhelm your audience with technical drawings, just include a few for context.
- Add your contact information somewhere visible.
Your project pages need to be structured differently if you’re looking for a job as an employee, or if you’re a freelance architect, creating a portfolio to attract clients. For the former, the hiring managers are more interested in your thought process and the way you got to certain design decisions.
However, clients look at the outcome of those decisions, and how well you incorporated the client brief. You need to use their language, so avoid technical jargon, and focus on telling the story of the building. With heaps of breathtaking images, of course.
Commercial architects design spaces that are intended for business purposes. Their projects include retail and hospitality projects and office buildings. The projects are based on multidisciplinary collaboration, and the clientele includes non-profits, government entities, and various types of businesses.
Here’s a commercial architect’s project page as an example:
- Show you understand what the building will be used for.
- Mention the relevant regulations.
- Include the project size and budget.
- Make sure there are no NDAs for your project.
Due to the large scope of a commercial project, the main focus in your portfolio should be the part that you did. Highlight that you understood the functionality, the relevant health and safety codes, and the construction method.
Include renders –or photographs if the project is built– to catch the eye, but if you weren’t responsible for making them, then keep it to a minimum and always give credit to the creator.
If you’d like to keep your projects safe, you can set a password for your Archifolio site easily. Alternatively, you can allow your site to show up in Google’s search results to let clients find you.
Warehouses, factories, and transportation facilities are the types of projects you find in an industrial architect’s portfolio. Working with manufacturers, companies, and government entities is straightforward, but putting your design up for bidding is frustrating.
Here’s an example of an industrial project page of a portfolio:
- Technical drawings, and showing the process are more important than fancy renders.
- Use the technical terms and definitions (no need to avoid jargon).
- Similarly to commercial projects, NDAs are common, so make sure your project doesn’t have any.
In industrial projects, highlighting the design’s functionality, sustainability, and safety are the key elements. Similarly to commercial jobs, these are humongous plans that require collaboration.
Compared to the overall scope of the project, your contribution might seem small, but every fraction has a tremendous impact on how safe or functional the project is. So show how you participated and what your role was.
Urban planners oversee large-scale land use plans, zoning regulations, transportation systems, and more. They have a huge influence on how sustainable, functional, and livable our cities and regions are.
Let’s see what an urban planning project page example looks like:
- Elaborate on the goal of the project.
- Don’t tell, but show – use diagrams to your advantage.
- Give context, and show how you contributed.
These projects are incredibly complex, so translating them into a single page may seem impossible at first.
However, there are many different ways to visualize an urban planning project. The most important is to show that you thought about the big picture, and the human-scaled details as well.
Interior architects take it upon themselves to make the most out of any indoor space. Among their clients are hotel, restaurant, residential, and commercial property owners. They usually come in at a later point in the construction phase.
Their responsibilities include making a place unique, comfortable, functional, and safe, while also adhering to codes, regulations, and the client’s budget and preferences.
Let's see an example:
- Talk about your contribution.
- Use professional photographs, and give credit.
- Include the project details (e.g. size of the project).
- Highlight how the client brief was realized.
In an interior design portfolio, your goal is to showcase your thought process. Start from the original floorplan, show what you modified, and why you did that. Nobody likes unnecessary construction work, so show your reasoning, and then let the result prove you right.
+1 Landscape Architects
Landscape architecture is a highly fulfilling career specialization for those, who are drawn to nature and sustainability.
Highlighting one’s ecological responsibility couldn’t be more important than today, and that’s often the landscape architect’s role in a huge architectural project.
If you want to read about landscape architecture portfolios, we have a whole article about it, check it out!
We hope that this collection helps to understand the differences between the different types of architects and the nuances of their portfolios.
You're ready to build yours, but you don’t have much time? Give Archifolio a go and see for yourself how easy it is to build a portfolio you’re proud of!
Marketing Manager of Archifolio, Architecture Portfolio Expert & Tiny House Enthusiast 🏡