Our History

The Civita Institute, formerly known as The Northwest Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in Italy (NIAUSI) is a Member-supported nonprofit corporation established in 1981 by academics, architects, students, Italians, and professional members of the Pacific Northwest design community.

Originally intended as a means of involving the professional community in the learning experience provided by the Italian Studies Program of the University of Washington's College of Architecture and Urban Planning, NIAUSI's purpose has evolved and expanded to more widely support cultural exchange and excellence in the design quality of the built environment through our Fellowships, Membership Stay programs and educational programs located at our facility in Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy.  We would be honored to have you join as a Member, participate in our programs, and to come stay for a unique experience at our historic buildings in Italy.  

The Civita Institute facilities, located in Alto Lazio, in the ancient hill town of Civita di Bagnoregio, were donated to our organization by two of our founders—the late Professor Astra Zarina and Anthony Costa-Heywood, architect. The Civita Institute and its participants continue to be enriched by their extraordinary generosity and vision. More about the life and work of Astra Zarina can be found at the following links: 

English Obituary

Necrologio Italiano