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architecture portfolio

matthew efteland

soledad public plaza project site section, ink on mylar


orphanage nursery re-design

design / build volunteer project

orphanage staff housing complex planning, design, and construction documents

oaxaca stamp museum research and documentation

soledad public plaza

urban planning / public spaces

floor, wall, roof

model as design tool

saint john’s abbey church rendering and visualization

sendai mediatheque structural analysis model

treetop hermitage design for one

lake shore cabin site conscious design

orphanage nursery re-design design / build volunteer project


Foundation For His Ministry (FFHM) is a well established organization with several orphanages throughout Mexico. Hogar Para Ninos in Vicente Guerrero is their oldest and largest home for children. I had the opportunity to visit and volunteer there on multiple occasions before being asked to update their nursery (cuna).

skills / tasks • • • • • • • • • • • •

documented and analyzed site interviewed nursery staff consulted with engineer and contractor created sketches and diagrams (iterative process) prepared design proposal presented proposal to orphanage founder and staff adapted design in light of feedback produced set of construction documents oversaw demolition and framing installed custom skylight flashing conducted follow-up inspection and interviews received great reviews from client

central courtyard nursery dedication covered play area

orphanage site plan

chalkboard paint name placard “is this my room!?” new kitchen children’s bathroom

old nursery plan

view from playroom into bedroom A bedroom A mother’s room view from playroom into entry way

re-designed nursery plan

orphanage staff housing complex

multi-family residential - construction begun


The success of my first project for the Hogar Para Ninos led to a second, much larger endeavor. FFHM founder Charla Pereau requested my assistance with designing a building to house 30+ orphanage staff and their families. The final design includes 18 units ranging from one to three bedrooms. A covered arcade and three staircases provide easy access to the two levels. The desire was for simple yet quality living quarters, so the structure was designed to make efficient use of space, materials, and energy while providing a safe and comfortable home for its residents.

skills / tasks • • • • • • • •

responded promptly to request for design work interviewed client(s) to inform design consulted with engineer and contractor drew up design proposal presented to FFHM founder, orphanage director, and construction manager adapted design based on feedback provided drawings in both metric and imperial followed up with construction manager after delivery of drawings

bougainvillea vines

staff housing floor plan

laying the first blocks demolition of the old motel

north elevation

south elevation

transverse section


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1 2


oaxaca stamp museum research and documentation


Four unique courtyards house a collection of rare Mexican stamps. Mexican architect Daniel Lopez combined these four traditional courtyard houses and introduced some modern elements to create this beautiful museum.

skills / tasks • • • • •

selected courtyard building for close study photographed and measured space analyzed relationships between courtyards and street created hard line drawings showing spatial relationships prepared final set of ink drawings on mylar

statues at museum entrance tree peeks over courtyard wall reflection pool in final courtyard axonometric drawing, ink on mylar

bamboo canopy 4

courtyard 2 section

courtyard 3 section

soledad public plaza project urban planning / public spaces


The Soledad plaza, situated between two major thoroughfares in Oaxaca City features two major churches, the City Hall, and a performing arts school. Despite its rich heritage and ideal location, it is far less popular than the public spaces of the Zocolo and Santo Domingo. One of the challenges of this particular site is that there is a significant elevation drop from Ave. Morales to Independencia, resulting in a lot of retaining walls dividing the space. Our group was tasked with creating a proposal to improve the Plaza through various design interventions.

skills / tasks • • • • • • •

studied precedents through diagrams created model of existing space collaborated as a team to develop a design proposal to improve traffic flow, draw people into the space, and serve as a landmark for the city referenced indigenous and colonial styles while incorporating modern design elements built many process models for critique and feedback presented final model and drawings to panel of local architects final model submitted to local museum for display

soledad church facade

soledad plaza santo domingo oaxaca city map zocolo

Indep en

Av. Mi gu


el Hida lgo



a 5 de M


so Valdiv ie




Pino S uarez

aria M

Calle d e la

Jose M

Santo Domingo


Soledad Plaza

Las Mariposas

Stamp Museum

La Constit




Ignacio A llende

model of final proposal

plan drawing of final proposal

floor, wall, roof model as design tool


This design project aimed to develop our ability to perceive spatial relationships and proportion. We were given a set of pre-dimensioned shapes of three distinct materials that we were to use to define a series of programmed spaces: an eating space, a sleeping space, and a space for reflection. We were instructed not to concern ourselves with the practical requirements of a typical structure, but rather with the space-defining properties of the basic structural elements of floor, wall, and roof.

skills / tasks • • • • • •

created clay and cardboard mock-up models to study spatial relations listened to and responded to criticism and feedback practiced envisioning design elements at full scale adjusted proportions until they were appropriate to the human scale incorporated proportions and balance into design produced final presentation model with high quality materials and craftsmanship

bird’s eye view

view of reflection space view of eating space from south overhead view

saint john’s abbey church computer rendering and visualization


This is the first in a series of buildings designed by Marcel Breuer for a master plan to expand St John’s campus to twice its size. The innovative design demonstrates the flexibility of cast concrete to take on virtually any shape and texture. Breuer’s mastery of light and shadow make this space stunning to behold

skills / tasks • • • • • • • •

researched building design and construction scanned drawings and re-drew in Auto CAD exported Auto CAD drawings to 3DS Max constructed complex computer model applied textures and lighting to surfaces made custom stained glass texture in Adobe Illustrator produced series of high resolution images rendered series of video walkthroughs and edited final presentation in Adobe Premier (scan qr code below)

side aisle

baptismal view from balcony stained glass window

sendai mediatheque structural analysis model


For our Materials and Methods course we were tasked with making a scale model that represented an understanding of the structural components of an existing building. My partner and I chose to model the Mediatheque of Sendai, Japan by Architect Toyo Ito because of its revolutionary design and structural system. A thin lightweight steel honeycomb floor structure is supported by a series of angled interlocking steel tubes that make up the hollow “seaweed columns” that weave their way through the building’s seven levels. These artistic structural elements are prominently displayed through the all-glass curtain wall system surrounding the mediatheque.

skills / tasks • • • • • •

researched building design and structure analyzed drawings to gain necessary comprehension of building composition created scaled digital drawings in Auto CAD to laser cut model elements utilized spreadsheets and diagrams to calculate length and angle of each structural member determined appropriate order of assembly to achieve necessary fittings and stability presented final model with thorough explanation of structure

rooftop lattice

section cut through three floors

double glazed south facade floor detail

view through east facade

Treetop Hermitage design for one


The concept of a secluded and peaceful spiritual retreat is one that has been common to religious practices throughout history. This project aimed to give an imaginative twist to the traditional hermitage. The position of the retreat high in the treetops lends itself to an elevated spirit and a unique perspective on the world. The foliage surrounding the small dwelling provides a subtle spectacle of fluttering light and sound. The resulting sense of calm displacement lends itself perfectly to calling out ones inner self.

skills / tasks • • • • • • • •

researched hermitage typology studied tree houses produced study models and sketches sought out critique from peers constructed SketchUp model rendered visualizations in Kerkythea laid out presentation boards presented proposal to panel including professor, client and architect

renderings floor plan elevation

sketchup model colored in photoshop

lake shore cabin site conscious design


This senior architecture studio project involved a thorough site study and incorporated passive solar and other environment-conscious design elements. The final cabin has two inhabitable levels, as well as an observation/stargazing tower. The cabin features two bedrooms, two and a half baths, as well as a loft with sleeping space for six.

skills / tasks • • • • • •

conducted thorough site survey determined appropriate building location and orientation to maximize views and passive solar heating incorporated site plant and mineral color palate into exterior finishes studied heavy timber framing and cabin design allowed structural system to inform design produced final model including context

site photo

site section / plan panoramic view of site from lake

Section AA



east elevation photoshop drawing

ground level floor plan

second level floor plan

south elevation photoshop drawing

objective To acquire an entry level position at an architectural firm. To develop my architectural skills as part of an innovative design team.

technical skills Proficient in AutoCAD, 3DS Max, SketchUp, Kerkythea, Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Microsoft Office Suite, basic engineering calculations, modeling and sketching.

built work Orphanage Nursery Re-Design Volunteer Project Completed September 2012 Orphanage Staff Housing Complex Volunteer Project Construction begun May 2013

education Bachelor of Science in Architecture, College of Design, University of Minnesota

employment Front End Manager Rainbow Foods Minneapolis, MN Nov 2002 - Present • Direct and instruct cashiers and courtesy employees in job duties and expectations • Address customer needs efficiently and effectively • Troubleshoot computer and technical issues


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Matthew Efteland Architecture Portfolio  

A compilation of my finest architectural work featuring projects from my junior and senior architecture studios as well as real-world built...

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