Light Reading Advice to students: Applying for Architecture Jobs

March 20, 2013

A student recently wrote us asking about going from product/ ID/ furniture background into an architecture career.

Here are some tips to make your portfolio speak to an architect, not just the product designer:

-Demonstrate construction understanding (Show details, section views of materials in layers)
-Think relative scale (Scale figure, ghosted silhouette of a person next to your object)
-Material use: Show flat elevation views of interiors using Photoshop to collage materials & finishes (again, include scale figure)
-Show some 3d hand sketches of architectural spaces (a good hand sketch communicates atmosphere and is vague enough for interpretation)
-Use conceptual diagrams to explain your big idea in simple abstraction
-Pick an architectural specialty and apply your ideas & skills to one area (hospitality, workplace, retail, residential, etc.)

Anyone with a product background can offer relevant perspective and knowledge to an architecture firm. Material, finish and construction details are of particular applicability. One way I would expect the product designer to demonstrate this unique offering would be the ability to create detailed shop drawings, like banquette seating for the hospitality niche... because of intimate knowledge of furniture construction. Not only is this valuable to hospitality architecture, it also explains why you have a product background but are applying for a job at an architecture firm.