Scrafano Architects

Elissa Scrafano, principal and founder of Scrafano Architects, has been practicing architecture for more two decades and is a registered architect in California, Illinois, and Michigan. She knew by age 16 that she wanted to be an architect and never strayed from that goal and mission.

Before establishing Scrafano Architects in 1997, Elissa worked at the offices of Frank O. Gehry and Associates, Eric Owen Moss Architects, Narduli Grinstein Architects, and Landworth Debolske Architects. She has taught model and object making and architectural drawing at Southern California Institute of Architecture SCI-Arc, University of California at Irvine, and Woodbury University in Burbank. In addition, Elissa has been a guest critic on several undergraduate and graduate student reviews.

Elissa received a B.S. in architecture from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1985, with a concentration in art history, and a master’s in architecture with honors from Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) in 1990. She was a guest student at the Architectural Association in London and at the Staadelschule in Frankfurt, Germany, and also studied history of art and architecture in Italy.

She has traveled extensively throughout Europe, North America, Asia, and Central and South America. Growing up in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan, she was influenced by the architecture, art, and gardens of Cranbrook Academy in Bloomfield Hills as well as her travels around the world with her family. She was one of the first girls to play boys little league baseball, ran track, and was all state in tennis.

Elissa served on The Cultural Heritage Commission of Los Angeles for several years, and was recently appointed to The Cultural Affairs Commission by Mayor Eric Garcetti.

In addition to architecture, Elissa is passionate about traveling with her husband Tim Sullivan, and enjoys fashion, art museums, cooking, literature, music, product design, running, hiking, tennis, and skiing, with her niece Isabella and nephews Charlie and Cole.

  • University of Michigan
Favorite Books
Ulysses, James Joyce; Middlesex, Jeffery Eugenides; A Fine Balance, Royton Ministry
Favorite Film
The Godfather
Favorite Buildings
Pantheon in Rome, La Tourette by Le Corbusier, Berlin Philharmonic by Hans Sharoun
Person who most influenced my creativity
My Grandmother Ninfa, who is 101. She taught me to how to draw, make things, and create. She is probably the reason I became an architect.
Favorite Large Cities
Rome, London, Istanbul, and Palermo
Future Travel Plans
China and Sicily
“Live each day as if it were your last” and “You are never too old to make new friends.”