When presenting your architecture internship portfolio, it’s important to make a strong first impression and convince the reviewer that it is worth their time to go through your portfolio in detail.
To do this, you’ll need to find ways to hold the reviewer’s attention for at least 30 seconds.
Remember, your portfolio is not just about showcasing your architectural designs, but also about presenting them in a visually appealing and professional way. In this short amount of time, you’ll need to demonstrate your skills in graphic design and presentation in order to make a strong impression.
…This can quickly become overwhelming.
So here we aim to guide you through the process of creating a successful portfolio of work, that we hope helps you to stand out and increases your chances of getting noticed by potential employers and internship programs.
For a broader overview, we have a full guide covering the more generic aspects of a portfolios creation here.
Stand out from the competition, and create an interview ready portfolio.
How to make an architecture portfolio for an internship: A Step-by-Step Guide
To get started on your architecture internship portfolio, it’s important to first organize yourself and determine the main idea or argument that you want to convey through your presentation. Think about what drawings, images, and text will best support this argument and gather all of this information.
Outlining the points you will cover can also be helpful in determining how to organize your portfolio. When selecting the content for your portfolio, be sure to choose your best work and present it in a clear and professional manner. This may involve scanning and editing your work in a program like Photoshop to ensure that everything is of high quality and resolution.
It’s also important to include processes sketches and other relevant information, but be sure to present it in a neat and organized way.
When selecting the projects for your architecture internship portfolio, it’s a good idea to choose around 4-5 of your best ones and arrange them in chronological order, starting with the most recent.
If you feel that any of your previous projects could benefit from some revisions or updates, now is the time to make those changes. As you choose the projects to include in your portfolio, be sure to select ones that showcase your strengths and abilities as an architect.
This will help demonstrate to potential employers or internship programs the skills and experience you bring to the table.
Quality over quantity
As discussed in our undergraduate portfolio guide, when it comes to creating a successful portfolio, it’s important to prioritize quality over quantity, and architecture internship portfolios are no different.
You don’t need a large number of projects to make a strong impression.
In fact, some of the most impressive portfolios I’ve seen have only included a few carefully selected projects that demonstrate the candidate’s skills and experience in a clear and concise way.
Rather than worrying about the quantity of projects you have, focus on producing high-quality content that showcases your abilities as a young architect. By doing so, you will be more likely to stand out and impress potential employers or internship programs.
Create a theme
It’s important to choose a presentation style and stick to it throughout your entire portfolio. This helps to create a cohesive and professional appearance, and can also make your work easier to review.
If necessary, you may want to re-render or update certain projects to fit your chosen presentation style. Consistency is key, as it allows potential employers or internship programs to better understand and appreciate your work.
You can also create templates for each project to help ensure that your portfolio looks uniform and polished.
For example, you might decide to include four sheets for each project and design those sheets to have a consistent layout. This will help you present your work in a clear and organized way, and make it easier for reviewers to focus on the content itself.
Less is more
Avoid overloading each sheet with too much content. Instead, aim to keep your sheets minimal and easy to understand. It’s often more effective to present your work in a clear and concise manner, rather than trying to cram too much information onto each sheet.
You can find examples of minimal and easy-to-understand portfolio sheets by visiting our portfolio examples page here. Take a look at these examples for inspiration and guidance as you design your own portfolio.
Remember to keep your sheets clean and organized to help reviewers focus on the content itself.
Emphasis your unique work
If you have unique elements of your work that you think are worth highlighting in your internship portfolio, consider dedicating a separate sheet to illustrate these in detail.
A design and concept page
A dedicated concept page can be a great way to showcase your creativity and design skills, and can help demonstrate your thought process and concept development abilities. If you have sketches and scribbles from your design process, consider pulling them together in a presentable format and including them in your portfolio as well.
This can help provide context and insight into your design process, and give reviewers a better understanding of your abilities as an architect.
Don’t be afraid to showcase your unique ideas and creative approaches in your portfolio – these are the qualities that can help set you apart from other candidates.
If you have participated in any projects or architectural competitions outside of your normal work, don’t forget to include those sheets in your application too. This can be a great way to showcase your skills and experience, and can help demonstrate your commitment to the field.
If you worked on a group project as part of the competition, be sure to mention your specific role in the project. It’s okay to “brag” a little bit about your achievements and contributions – this is your chance to highlight your abilities and strengths as an architect. Just be sure to do so in a professional and modest way, and avoid overstating your role or accomplishments.
Including information about your participation in architectural competitions can be a valuable addition to your portfolio, and can help set you apart from other candidates.
Include extra sections
If you have strong sketching skills or excel at using certain software programs for example, be sure to also include this somewhere with the rest of work. These are valuable skills that can set you apart from other candidates and demonstrate how useful you will be to the firm.
Other talents and hobbies that may be relevant to include in your portfolio could include architecture photography, model making, or origami, to name just a few examples.
Consider categorizing these talents and hobbies into different sections and adding them at the end of your portfolio. This will help to round out your portfolio and give reviewers a better understanding of your interests and abilities beyond just your architectural work.
Include your resume
Your resume is an important part of an internship application, so be sure to include it at the very front of your portfolio. Make sure your resume is neat and includes all of the necessary details about your education, experience, and skills.
If you’re not sure how to write a strong resume, we have a full guide here with examples to help you create one that stands out.
It’s a good idea to take the time to craft a well-written and organized resume, as it will be the first thing that potential employers or internship programs see when reviewing your portfolio.
Send it with a cover letter
Additionally, including a cover letter can be a valuable asset in helping you stand out and make a strong impression. A well-written cover letter allows you to introduce yourself and explain why you are interested in the internship position.
It also gives you the opportunity to highlight your relevant skills and experience, and explain how you would be a good fit for the position.
It’s worth taking the time to craft a thoughtful and well-written introduction that shows your personality and communicates your enthusiasm for the opportunity, it can be a powerful tool in helping you standout in a competitive job market.
We again have a full article and guide on how to write an effective cover letter here, and for those that want to start with a pre-written template, the below set of cover letters come fully editable and adaptable to help support and speed up the process
You only get one first impression.
83% Of Decision Makers Say Cover Letters Are Important – Impress 100% Of Them
Internship portfolio layout
Whilst the contents of a portfolio is highly bespoke and unique to its author, it may be be comforting to hear that there is a set structure that can followed for the order and layout a portfolio – and this starts with including a:
As discussed in detail here, the cover page of your architecture internship portfolio is the first thing that potential employer will see, so it’s important to make a good impression. Take the time to create a cover page that reflects the contents of your portfolio and your personality as an architect.
This can help give reviewers a sense of what to expect from the work that follows and can also help convey your interests and strengths.
You can again find examples of effective cover pages by visiting the above link. Study these examples and use them for inspiration and guidance as you design your own page. Remember, the cover page is an important part of your portfolio and should be given the time and attention it deserves.
After the cover page, it’s a good idea to include a contents page in your architecture internship portfolio. This page should list the sections of your portfolio, along with corresponding page numbers.
A neat and organized content page can help reviewers navigate your portfolio more easily and allow them to quickly find the information they are looking for.
We have a full article on this here.
In the main section of your portfolio should of course include all of your projects, arranged in chronological order from the most recent to the oldest. This helps to provide context and a sense of your development and growth as an architect over time.
By presenting your projects in this way, you can help potential employers or internship programs get a better sense of your skills and experience. Be sure to include enough information and detail about each project to give reviewers a good understanding of your work, but try to avoid overwhelming them with too much information.
A balanced and well-organized presentation of your projects is key to creating a successful portfolio.
Last but not least, don’t forget to include your contact information. Whilst this should (!) be on your cover letter and resume, the back cover of your portfolio is a excellent location to also provide this.
It’s important to include your email address and phone number so that it easy for reviewers to reach you, so be sure to include your contact details in a prominent and accessible location in your portfolio.
Architecture internship portfolio examples
Although not strictly dedicated to an intern application, the guys at “Show it better” provide a review and breakdown of portfolios used for a variety of employment opportunities below:
FAQ’s for how do I make an architectural portfolio for an internship?
Do I need a portfolio for architecture internship?
Yes, it is generally expected that you will have a portfolio when applying for an architecture internship. A portfolio is a way for you to showcase your skills, experience, and interests as an architect, and helps potential employers or internship programs understand your strengths and abilities.
It’s a good idea to start building your portfolio early in your architectural education, as you will likely need it when applying for internships or jobs later on. Your portfolio should include your best work, and should be organized, visually appealing, and easy to understand.
It should also include a cover page, content page, and contact information, and should be presented in a professional and polished manner. A well-crafted portfolio can be a valuable asset in helping you secure an architecture internship and further your career in the field.
What do architecture interns do?
Architecture interns are typically students or recent graduates who are working in a professional architecture firm or organization in order to gain practical experience in the field. As an intern, you might be responsible for a variety of tasks and projects, depending on your level of experience and the specific needs of the firm or organization you are working with.
Some of the tasks you might be asked to do as an architecture intern could include:
- Assisting with the design process, including sketching, drafting, and modeling
- Helping to prepare presentations and proposals for clients
- Researching building codes, materials, and other technical information
- Participating in site visits or inspections
- Assisting with the creation of construction documents or specifications
- Helping to coordinate with contractors and other professionals on projects
- Performing other administrative or support tasks as needed
As an architecture intern, you should be prepared to work hard, learn as much as you can, and be willing to take on a variety of tasks in order to gain valuable experience in the field. We discuss this in great detail here.
How do I make a portfolio with no experience?
If you are just starting out in the field of architecture and don’t have any professional experience, it can be challenging to create a portfolio. However, there are still ways you can showcase your skills and abilities, even if you don’t have any completed projects to include. Here are a few ideas for how to make a portfolio with no experience:
- Include school projects: If you are still a student, you can include projects you have completed as part of your architectural education. These projects can help demonstrate your design skills and your progress as an architect.
- Include personal projects: If you have completed any personal projects or design exercises, you can include these in your portfolio as well. Personal projects can be a great way to showcase your creativity and demonstrate your passion for architecture.
- Include sketches, diagrams, and other materials: Even if you don’t have any completed projects to include, you can still show your design skills by including sketches, diagrams, or other materials that demonstrate your thought process and design approach.
- Focus on your education and skills: If you don’t have any professional experience, it’s especially important to focus on your education and skills in your portfolio. Be sure to include information about your education, any relevant coursework or projects, and any skills or knowledge you have gained that are relevant to architecture.
Can I apply for internship without portfolio?
It is generally expected that you will have a portfolio when applying for an architecture internship. However, it’s possible that you may be able to apply for an internship without a portfolio if you are able to demonstrate your skills and abilities in other ways.
For example, you might be able to submit a resume, academic transcripts, or other materials that show your educational background and accomplishments. You could also try to highlight any relevant skills or experience you have gained through other activities, such as volunteering, part-time work, or hobbies that are related to architecture.
It’s worth noting that having a portfolio can be a valuable asset when applying for an architecture internship, as it gives potential employers or internship programs a more comprehensive view of your abilities and interests.
If you are able to create a portfolio, even if it is not yet complete, it can be a good idea to include it with your application. However, if you are unable to create a portfolio at this time, you might still be able to find an internship opportunity by highlighting your other strengths and qualifications.