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 when the time is right for you, to come stay for a unique experience at our historic buildings in Italy.  

Our great teacher and benefactor the late Professor Emeritus Astra Zarina taught generations how to live accordiing to the precepts of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness, The Good Life as taught by Socrates, with her husband architect Tony Costa Heywood.  She was a sheer, demanding, ingenious, exuberant, and catalytic force of architectural, design, and life instruction so powerful she transformed countless lives. She made us stop in our tracks, sit down, and listen. She taught us how to fully live.  We welcome you to our Civita Institute with her legacy. Join us!.   

The Astra Zarina Legacy

Our dear friend, professor, inspiration, and co-founder of NIAUSI, Astra Zarina, passed away August 31, 2008. 

English Obituary

Necrologio Italiano

Read the Tributes people sent to the Civita Institute. 
If you would like to add your own please contact Jim Corey at james.corey@civitainstitute.org