Everything You Need to Know About Putting Together an Architecture Portfolio

What are the Different Types of Architecture?

There are several specializations and types of architecture, and they include commercial, residential, interior design, green design, industrial design, conservation, landscape, and urban designer.

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Architecture can be an exciting field, allowing you to tap into many different skills and take on a variety of projects. In fact, this role often goes beyond simply designing the aesthetics of a building or structure. It is a dynamic profession that can be a good fit if you're self-motivated, creative, analytical, and have strong design skills. To make your mark as an architect, one of the biggest assets you can have is an online portfolio website that highlights your design work and your unique perspective.

To help you create an architecture online portfolio, we've gathered together important information about this exciting profession, including the different types of architecture, the average pay of an architect, and the skills needed to be a success in this field. Whether you're looking to attract the attention of architecture firms or hoping to impress your peers in the design world, we answer all your burning questions about what it takes to make it as an architect.

Why is Architecture Important?

Architecture is important because it is literally all around us, affecting the spaces we use and live in, as well as how we view our neighborhoods, our cities, and our sense of community. In this profession, you are designing spaces for people, so you will need to consider the environment where you are building a space, as well as the needs of the people using the structure you create.

This field is both a science and an art, combining design with psychology, sociology, economics, and politics. For these reasons, it's considered a challenging but very rewarding profession, allowing you to tap into many different fields and roles at once.

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What are the Different Types of Architecture?

Because this profession can be so varied and pull from many different fields, most architects will specialize in a specific type of architecture. Many architects become licensed in a specific type to demonstrate to architecture firms that they know one type very well and can design for that type.

Though you may find yourself pursuing several different specializations during your career, the eight main types of architecture are:

  • Commercial architect: This type specializes in designing buildings like retail shops, hotels, museums, office towers, public buildings, and non-residential properties.

  • Residential architect: This type focuses on designing private homes for clients, depending on their needs as well as the environment where they live.

  • Interior design architect: Interior design is a specialization that looks at the inside of a home, building, or space, from the furnishings to the lighting to the color palette.

  • Green design architect: Also known as sustainable architects, this type focuses on designing environmentally friendly and energy-efficient spaces for commercial and residential clients.

  • Industrial design architect: This type is all about the function and practical use of a space, often designing warehouses, factories, storage facilities, and transportation terminals.

  • Conservation architect: With this type, you will be preserving historically important structures, such as museums, castles, palaces, and other structures that hold significant historical interest.

  • Landscape architect: Landscape architecture specializes in the design and development of outdoor spaces, such as gardens, parks, and public squares.

  • Urban designer: This type focuses primarily on city planning, and designing an area as a whole, rather than just one building or structure.

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How Do You Become an Architect?

To find your footing in this profession, you will need an educational background like a Bachelor's degree and/or a Master's degree in Architecture. Many architects will also complete an apprenticeship with an architecture firm to home their skillset and expand their portfolio of work. In some cases,  firms will offer apprentices full-time positions, which can be a great way to land a permanent position.

You will also need to be licensed in a specific type of architecture to practice the craft successfully. To obtain a license you will need to pass an exam and register in the state or province you plan to work in as an architect.

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How Much Do Architects Get Paid?

Your salary depends on a few factors, including where you are working from or living, and what type of architecture you specialize in. Most architects make a decent to high living wage and often can increase their yearly earnings as they move up in a firm or become more well known in their specialization. On average, architects typically earn an average salary of $80,000 USD, though this amount can be higher based on your experience and specific area of focus.

What Makes an Architect Successful?

Most architects will possess several key skills, including design knowledge and education, building know-how, and structural expertise. They will also have soft skills like problem-solving, strong attention to detail, and analytical thinking. Excellent customer service and communication skills are also valuable tools to have, as you will often need to work closely with clients or a design team to bring a concept to life.

In addition to these qualities, many architects find success by having a strong architecture portfolio website that highlights their best work as a designer. Your online portfolio can be a great way to share your work with potential employers or to land an apprenticeship at a firm. Let's look at how you can build a stunning architecture portfolio to launch your career in this exciting, dynamic field.

What Should an Architecture Portfolio Include?

When it comes to creating an effective online architecture portfolio, take some time to think about how you can make it the most engaging and convincing to potential clients or firms. There are a few best practices for an architecture portfolio website, including:

Showcase Your Best Work

Architecture portfolios work best when you are selective and thoughtful about what work you are going to include. Rather than showcase your work with no curation or intent, go through your designs and concepts to find the best of the best. Potential clients and architecture firms want to be wowed by what you have to offer; a lukewarm response won't land you that coveted apprenticeship spot!

Maybe there are designs for a building you are proud of, or an interior design concept you feel really highlights your best skills. Perhaps there is a series of designs you created that mark a distinct shift in your usual approach or demonstrate your ability to think outside the box. Go for work that tells visitors about your thought process when it comes to designing spaces and gives them a good sense of who you are as a designer.

Use High-Quality Architecture Photography

Many architecture portfolio websites will include images of recent work, displaying them front and center on the site. As you put your architect portfolio together, make sure you are using photography of your work that is high-quality, clean, and as impressive as your designs. Using well-shot photographs of your designs will ensure your design portfolio looks professional and impressive to visitors.

Taking photographs of architecture is a skill in itself, so you may decide to hire an architecture photographer to do this for you, or brush up on your shooting abilities to get it right.

Make Your Architecture Portfolio Easy to Use

Functionality is another important aspect of strong architecture portfolio websites. Think about how you can create a positive user experience for visitors when they navigate your site. Make it easy for visitors to access your work in one to two clicks, and check that your design portfolio is engaging and welcoming. A complicated, cluttered architecture portfolio will turn off site visitors and could cost you a client or project. Instead, keep your website clean and easy to navigate so you get as many clicks as possible.

How Many Pages Should an Architecture Portfolio Have?

When it comes to putting your portfolio website together, you may be overwhelmed with how to organize it so it feels welcoming and cohesive. There are several key pages your portfolio online should include, such as:

A Portfolio Page

This is the most important page on your website, acting as your visual cv. This page should include the projects you are proud of, highlighting your best designs in an easy to access format.

Depending on the website platform you use for your website, you should be able to lay out your portfolio page using different templates or themes. Some architects decide to go for a template that uses a grid layout for their portfolio page, showcasing their work as the main page that a site visitor will see. Others may decide on a scrolling layout, where portfolio designs appear in a tidy row or stacked on top of one another.

Regardless of the layout you choose, this page should collect your most impressive projects in one place and represent you as a designer.

An About Me Page

Your architecture website isn't just about sharing your designs, it's also about telling site visitors a bit about who you are and why you've chosen this field of study. Your about m page should highlight your educational background and work experience, such as degrees or certificates you've earned in architecture as well as any apprenticeships.

Some portfolio websites will also include an artist statement, which highlights why you gravitate to specific projects and where your passion for your work comes from.

A Contact Page

Your online portfolio is also a great way for you to reach out and offer to connect with potential employers or firms looking for an apprentice. Create a Contact Page with a contact form that is short and easy to fill out, inviting connection and collaboration with visitors to your online portfolio. You can also include your email address to make networking that much easier.

Link to Your Social Media Accounts

If you use Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media accounts on a professional level, be sure to include links to these platforms on your portfolio website. This way, visitors can get a sense of who you are and keep up to date on your latest projects. Most website builders will make it easy for you to display links to your social media accounts on your site in a few clicks.

Update Your Portfolio Regularly

An up-to-date current website will let visitors know that you are always working and improving your craft. Make sure you add to your portfolio website regularly to demonstrate your growth as a designer and highlight your latest work.

Another benefit of updating your portfolio on the regular is that search engines will often respond positively to your updates, and take notice of any fresh content you add to your website. Search engines will then bump your website up on search results when potential clients search for an architect in their area or a particular architecture type.

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Ready to Create an Online Architecture Portfolio?

Now that you have a thorough understanding of the steps needed to create an architecture portfolio website, you might feel ready to build your own so you can further your design career. Make sure you go for a web-builder like Format, which offers website templates created especially for architecture, as well as add-ons like a blog to share your artistic journey with others and an online store to sell prints of your designs. 

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