Overview

Margarita McGrath and Scott Oliver began working together in 1994 on the design of the ranch house project for a horse-loving client and her husband. A decade+ later, they completed their first permanant built work together (alas the ranch house remains unbuilt), and decided to call the collaboration noroof architects.

The noroof approach to design resembles working at actual size, except that as a way of thinking it has to fit on a desk. Because we are interested in the experience of space, we often work in models. Beginnings are rarely made with an empty desk; there is always a pile of scraps from other projects within reach. We start with a basic idea in mind, and this gets situated into architecture through picking pieces out of the pile, holding them up for evaluation, trimming an edge, taping them in place, changing a piece or two, and then selecting the next element out of the stacks. As a way of thinking, this allows unexpected and unforeseen connections to happen.

We tried this process at full scale (1:1) in two installations, peeling the grape and forgetting LA. The slot house, noroof’s first permanent work, also uses this approach. When working at actual size, what we are responding to is the surroundings, the site (here the gallery room or existing house), and the process of construction.

Our work is grounded in re-collecting the beauty of ordinary things through making visible relations that connect them to matter and circumstances outside of themselves. This means that the work invites you (and anyone else who occupies the work) to participate in its making through adding your own experiences to the architecture.