Astra Zarina Tribute

For the family, colleagues, students, friends, and admirers of Astra Zarina to share our stories

Dear Friends of Professor Emerita Astra Zarina and NIAUSI, It is with great sadness that we report that Astra, our dear friend, professor, inspiration, and founder of NIAUSI, passed away August 31, 2008.English Obituary - Necrologio italiano Please add your stories and tributes to our Astra Tribute page by emailing text, photos, and attachments to: jim@gowise.orgPosted by Sigrur Kristj¡nsdttir Ph.D., April 22, 2011.  Astra Zarina - a great professoressa passed away almost three years ago. Astra Zarina tought me not only critical thinking but also critical looking, and she emphasised that that was the way to study and learn about our environment. She gave excellent lectures, with examples from all over the world. Astra loved to enlighten students and make them courious enough about their environment so that they found the need to go out themselves and try to find the answers. She also trusted that her students had enough interest in the subject to go out and to explore the city and study on their own.  Because that was what she did when she was a student and carried on doing her entire life. This trust created a special relationship between the professoressa and her students.  Astra was a vivid person and she knew how to love life.  She had great love for music, espesially operas, dancing, growing vegetables, good food, hosting dinner parties, and her cats.  But especially she loved and cared for her students.  The time I spent with her and professor Ron Kasprisin as a student in Rome in 1998 was the best time I ever spent in school. Last time I visited her and Tony in Civita di Bagnoregio was in a way like coming home.  Sitting outside on the veranda, looking over etruscan ruines and the palimpsest of the Italian hill town landscape, engaging in intellectual conversations over good wine and excellent food under the Umbrian sun. I was lucky to be one of her students.  I am still influenced by Astra's way of thinking and exploring the ideas she sparked. I miss Astra a lot. My condolences to Tony.  With love from Iceland. Sigrur Kristj¡nsdttir Ph.D. and family. Posted by Thor "Toro" Simpson, November 6, 2008 I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of our Professoressa Zarina. I was among the few fortunate enough to be a student in the Italian Hill Towns program in 2000, an experience I will always remember fondly.  I returned to Civita two years ago with my wife to share the experiences and memories I had in those few months studying abroad with Astra and the people of Civita and in Bagnoregio. Astra was every bit as lively then as she had been several years earlier. Indeed, it felt as if I had never left. I remember so clearly the times cooking in her kitchen before our œdidactic dinners,  with red wine always on hand for the cooks. The morning classes that were never in a hurry to begin on schedule were preceded by a cappuccino downstairs with the other students. The dinners and digestivo I may remember less clearly, often followed by a romp to the Belvedere and everyone™s friend Strappa. Day to day life consisted of some studies, drawings, a long walk to town and some field trips, but most importantly passing the time enjoying some Bruschetta and good company. Of course all of this took place in a setting where the history and character were truly impossible to ignore. There were far too many adventures to mention, but they all add up to a remarkable period of my life. For these things I will be forever grateful.  My heart goes out to Tony and his family, the Rocchi family, and all who were close to Astra in her final years. I hope to return to Civita again one day. While there will be a void without being able to visit Astra directly, I know the experience will be filled with reminders of her passionate efforts towards the preservation of the city and the programs that she inspired. Posted by Rugero, November 5, 2008 Speravo di non dover salutare Astra così in fretta.  Meno di un anno fa ho avuto la fortuna di scoprire Civita e allo stesso tempo di conoscere chi di quel luogo, tra i tanti che aveva conosciuto, ne aveva fatto la sua casa, difeso, e custodito la storia.  Mi sono sentito onorato, e quasi in imbarazzo dal calore con il quale sono stato accolto da Astra e da Tony.  L'accoglienza generosa destinata a chiunque volesse conoscere e imparare e discutere su Civita, facendo sentire chiunque arrivasse a Civita come un pellegrino di altri tempi al quale donare l'esperienza e il sapere accumulato in una vita.  Non ho avuto modo di conoscere bene Astra, ne di assistere a sue lezioni, ma ho ascoltato con ammirazione la sua storia personale, ho appreso la bellezza di offrire e condividere il lavoro di tutta una vita, che immagino energica a appassionata, a chiunque ne sia interessato, compartendo e confrontandosi in modo pratico e diretto.  Ascoltare ed essere ascoltato da Astra ÃÂĬ stato qualcosa di unico che ricorderò sempre.  Forse impropriamente, ma con grande orgoglio, mi sento di essere stato probabilmente il suo ultimo studente, Ruggero.   Posted by the Reinhardts, November 3, 2008 Astra was the most inspirational, most exasperating, most eye-opening professor I ever had.  She seemed to come straight out of central casting for part of "remarkable teacher"  She would have been a natural for the lead in Dead Poets Society, or Mame, or the Miracle Worker.  She had a major impact on me at a formative period in my life, and she's the only professor I've thought about her frequently since. Â It was always my intention to take my wife and kids back to Italy to meet the legendary Zarina -- I guess that won't happen now.  I was on the Hilltowns and Rome programs in '78, and the TA on the Rome program in '80.  When Astra would expound on her fantastic schemes, such as the notion that a stodgy budget-strapped public university might someday lease an historic Italian palazzo, I would always think, "There she goes again".  It was only later in life that I realized that trully great things are only accomplished by people who reach for the improbable.  That was Astra.   Posted by Mark Drexler, November 3, 2008 What a life to celebrate!   An incredible professor, an incredible woman,  an incredible human being.  At once intimidating and nurturing, stinging and healing, tough and caring,  and oh what a sense of drama!  Arriving in Naples in the dead of night and awakening to the astonishing view of the sun drenched bay from our hotel rooms the next morning.  Lugging suitcases up the hill in the hot summer sun to a non descript stucco wall fronting a Ravello street, only to walk into the courtyard of the Hotel Parsifal and see the Amalfi coast shimmering below.  I remember seeing in her eyes the delight she took in exposing us to these special things that she orchestrated.  The cast of characters; La Baronessa Bolla, Luigi e Vittoria, Fiorello (well , he was a horse, actually), and all of the participants of Architecture in Rome, 1976.  Truly, Astra created a film, in which she not only starred, but wrote and directed – and not just AIR 1976 – her entire life. Â As a young man I sometimes had a passion for things that were on the periphery of the focus of the AIR program (I am being charitable to myself there), which created some conflict between  Astra and myself at times.  Working in the fields every day with Luigi, riding a burro in the Civita â€ÂÂœPalio”, or trying to climb a greased pole in the piazza after a few glasses of wine were the extent of my contributions to the program.  However, I listened to Astra and took it in, maybe by osmosis,  and she may be surprised to learn that I heard her, and a lot of it stuck.  It took a few years to understand why she lamented the passing of the last man in Civita who could expertly repair cane chair seats, and that none of the young people cared to learn this skill to carry on this small bit of culture.  Â I can still hear her telling me how she would wash herself when she was young with snow and ice placed in a sink, because there was no running water, and how â€ÂÂœsoft” we were.  And I was scolded more times than I care to remember. Â  Still, she was one of the few professors and teachers in my life that truly had an impact that has lasted a lifetime.  Italy has become a second home and an important part of my life, and it is because of her.  That alone is a priceless legacy to me.  The memories of Astra will always put a smile on my lips.  Grazie Mille Astra.    Posted by Shaun Hubbard & Harold Kawaguchi, Seattle, October 20, 2008 Dear Tony:  When we recently read the stunning news of Astra's passing, the first person we thought of was you and how sad you must feel without your Astra. What a formidable couple! Strong in your love for each other, and powerful in your talent and teachings. Harold and I have so many fond memories of the two of you from our travels to Civita, Harold teaching in Rome, and catching up with you during your Seattle visits. Your generous hospitality, your talent in the kitchen, Astra's larger-than-life stories and your quiet witticisms. Because of Astra, when clinking glasses in a toast, we never "cross"; when red wine is spilled, we dab it behind our ears; and Rome is our souls' other home. You are woven into the fabric of our memories. May you find comfort in yours.     Posted by Gunnar and Sylvia Birkirts, October 5, 2008 We mourn a friend… Astra, do you remember when we first met, in 1948, in the confirmation class in Esslingen. One could not miss your entrance! We compared our stories—we were both Latvians, studying architecture—you in Karlsruhe, I in Stuttgart. And then years passed and we had both become architects. The next time I saw you was in Royal Oak, Michigan when I joined Yamasaki’s office. I was assigned a drafting table next to his star designer—it was you! From then on our families and careers stayed rather close. Remember the car rallies in Elkhart Lake, and the walking and skating and picnicking, and swimming in our Walnut Lake? We were always talking. We agreed that architecture should advance in new directions, and we teamed up to enter competitions on our own. The Leopoldville gave us a third prize, and then came Ankara. Your career was beginning to accelerate and your next phase brought separation. You won the Rome Prize and left for Italy. We kept in touch by way of letters—I still have yours.  You were flying high in Italy—and there were also hardships—and both of us were slowly carving a place in the profession. You also found a new passion—Civita. And after we came to visit you there you enticed us to join in, to attest to our own attachment to Italy. We acquired a property and you became the architect of our house. Years went by. You had decided not to accept any of the lucrative offers from top architects that would have brought you back to America. Your heart was in Italy. It was your reality, and this choice was the beginning of your lifelong dedication to teaching and academia. As my career advance, I also dedicated time to teaching. Our correspondence gradually stopped. After our house in Civita was finished we traveled to Italy often. There were all the wonderful all-nighters with food and wine and talk under the pergola in your garden. There was time to tell our stories. Each of us was devoted to architecture, but you, as a dedicated Civita citizen, sometimes said that we did not have enough attachment. Maybe you were right. But now, with happy memories and sad feelings, I feel that we do.  We mourn a friend… Gunnar and Sylvia   Posted by Bernardo and Gaia Rossi Doria, September 26, 2008 We all were very sad to learn that Astra had passed. Many years ago even before we settled ourselves in Civita, I met Astra in Rome and had the opportunity to appreciate her brilliant approach to architectural and cultural matters. Later with Her and Tony we had beautiful and frequent conversations. We often and vividly spoke about America where I had been as fulbright senior in Harvard- MIT joint center for urban studies and as visiting professor in Tulane Un. in New Orleans, with Gaia. We spoke either of course of Italy and particularly of the italian landscape when I was in charge in the "Italia Nostra" association for protecting cultural heritage. Later as Professor in Reggio Calabria, then in Palermo, I cooperated with Astra as Washington University Professor and Tony, for many years in late eighties and early nighties to a joint residential seminar (about Italian "hilltowns") to let meet and team up with American and Italian students of architecture. Civita had a special revival during those seminars. The exchange was also on different ways of life. Sicilian cooking was popular.... We had also at University of Palermo Astra's visit with american students.  All that was a very stimulating and succesful didactic experience. In recent years many young architects in Sicily spoke to me to remember Astra. Also our daughter Ilaria Rossi-Doria knew Astra and had helpful counsel in dressing up her final project (on the settlement of Calanchi Valley) for graduation as architect in Rome. Later Ilaria started some collaboration Astra in her didactic activities. Now everybody miss something walking around Civita. *** Posted by Kari Kimura, September 19, 2008 It was the Fall of 1989, the Palazzo Pio renovations were complete, the Berlin Wall had fallen, Cinema Paradisio was playing at the movie theatre downstairs of the Pio, we (my husband Shaun Roth and I) were part of Astra's 20th class in Rome.  Out of fear, I remember feeling sick to my stomach before our first studio pin up with Astra.  I am not a person easily intimidated, but on that first critique I certainly was.  Her reputation as a great teacher led me to apply to the AIR program, the AIR Alumni scholarship helped me get there.  Well, that sick feeling in my stomach did subside, and I felt very safe with her.  Astra's criticism of our work was never to belittle, it was done with the sincerest effort to push us to a higher level of realization, to have our designs be as accomplished as possible while we were with her. Maybe it was the optimism at that time, but it was a great time to be an architecture student in Rome with Astra.  We all cooked & dined together, worked in the studio together, and discovered the City together.  Brenda, Maria, and I lived in the apartment on the same floor as the design studio.  Therefore our apartment could be inspected by Astra at any time.  I remember Astra stopping by one morning at our apartment, took a look at the flowers we had in a vase and the other articles placed on the table.  She rearranged it all, she talked to us about composition and proportion, and that everything we do, everything we touch we can design.  Funny how these little interactions stay with you in a very meaningful way.  Ten years after our AIR experience, Shaun and I opened our own architecture practice in Kona, Hawaii.  On the back of our business card we have printed "architecture from the city to the spoon" below our firm name.  It is our ode to Astra.  We get questions about that phrase all the time, and we are given the opportunity to relate to others how Astra had impacted our education and how we see ourselves as designers. Astra Zarina, you will never be forgotten.  You are in our hearts and in our hands. Aloha   Posted by Kathleen Heimerman, September 16, 2008 It is with great sadness that I respond to your email informing us of Astra's passing.  As a graduate student in Architecture in Rome, I not only benefited from the Rome Program, but went on to return to Rome and do my thesis work there.  Astra was there to help me and encourage me to accomplish what seemed a daunting task.  There isn't a day that goes by that there isn't something that takes place that could've only happened because of her invaluable contributions to not only my education and growth as an architect, but also to me as a person and mother. Astra was also a great friend.  On a personal level I felt Astra was always on my side, always there with encouraging my thesis advisor in Rome, she enabled me to get into many of the Rome archives, the Vatican library, etc. She truly went the extra mile for me. And she truly believed in what I was doing, which meant more than anything. We just returned from a trip to see our family on the east coast, and I cooked much of the visit, talking about how I had learned so much Italian-inspired cooking from my friend Astra.It wasn't just what Astra did for us as a teacher, it was how she inspired us with her whole being.  She was truly inspirational. With profound sadness,Kathleen Heimerman  Posted by Nicola Longo, September 14, 2008 La professoressa Zarina ÃÂĬ stata per me fonte di ispirazione, una consigliera preziosa, un’amica sincera dalla cui saggezza continuo ad imparare.I am one of the fortunate persons who worked with and loved Professor Astra Zarina.  Astra instilled in me the love for art, architecture, urban planning….and cuisine.  I met Astra in Rome where she had established - and brought to its peak - the ‘Architecture in Rome’ program for the University of Washington.  I followed her to Civita di Bagnoregio where I was fortunate enough to be her teaching assistant in ’98 and ’99.  Once Astra told me: ‘small is beautiful’ and she gave me the well known homonymous book; only after living in the USA for several years, I am starting to understand that lesson.  Thanks to Astra, I moved to Seattle.  No words can express how much I owe her…and how missed she will be.     Posted by Carol Martin Watts, September 14, 2008  Astra changed my life, as she did that of so many other of her students, but also the lives of my parents, my children, and other members of my family.  In 1973 I was part of the Rome program - a spring that began with Astra "homeless", then saw the move to via Monseratto, and the initial discovery of Palazzo Pio. I spent time in Civita the summer after the Rome program, and returned the following year to buy property, restore a house, and write my thesis on Civita. This began my 35 years as a (part-time) neighbor of Astra and Tony. So much has changed in our lives and in Civita over this period of time, but Astra’s presence in Civita was a constant. She will be missed. There are so many stories I could tell, but here is one. On the afternoon of Christmas Eve, 2006, my husband, grown children, and I dropped by Astra and Tony’s big room with homemade Christmas cookies. We ended up staying for several hours, drinking wine around the table in front of the fire and reminiscing about the past decades in Civita. Astra was at her best, a gracious hostess, in good spirits and apparently feeling fine. I realized then just what an impact Civita had made on my family, and it was all possible because of Astra. I said goodbye to Astra a month before her death, thinking it was goodbye until next summer. I may not see her in Civita again, but she will live on in the lives of so many others.     Posted by Richard Berg, September 11, 2008 From the time I first immersed myself deeply in Astra’s strange and wonderful world at the age of 21, I have felt her influence every day.  The teacher and mentor that she was, the way she experienced the world, the amazing things she saw and valued in the built environment, all have influenced who I am and what I have done.  Rome was the perfect venue to learn Astra’s most enduring lesson, as it is full of monuments, palazzi, churches, and other truly beautiful buildings built for various and sundry reasons by the wealthy and famous.  We saw all of them, admired them, sketched and studied them, but they were not the major focus of the lessons we learned in Rome.  Unlike the tourists who bounce from the Pantheon to St. Peter’s and don’t pay much attention to what’s in between, we explored, measured, observed, and gleaned lessons about everyday life from the urban fabric of Rome.  We looked at the places that Romans had built for themselves to live, work, and play, over the course of many centuries, and we tried to understand the ways in which these environments were related to the Roman climate, Roman culture, and the way of life in Rome.  We looked at ancient neighborhoods, late-19th century neighborhoods, and modern neighborhoods.  We thought about ways to live that would create delight in our daily life, and tried to apply the lessons learned in Rome to our ideas about how to live in America.  (This was long before I ever heard of New Urbanism).  When I was ready for Astra to hand me off to my next set of mentors, she facilitated a job at Ibsen Nelsen and Associates, where I could apply what I had learned to projects in the Pike Place Market and on Capitol Hill, and later, told me to â€ÂÂœGo to MIT”.  I did go to MIT, where my teachers, Maurice Smith, Stanford Anderson, Imre Halasz among others, gave me design tools that could be applied to domestic and workplace architecture to create good places to live and work, and derisively dismissed design tools that are mainly used to commemorate political, personal, or corporate power.  What a great way to begin a career in architecture! After many years of sporadic contact, I was blessed to be able to visit Astra and Tony in Civita a couple of summers ago.  It was almost as if no time had passed.  We were treated to Civita wine in the garden, introduced to the turtles, ate incredible bruschetta, drank Averna by the fireplace.  On the other hand, some things were quite different: we did some laundry in Astra’s machines, and were invited with my sons to watch World Cup matches on TV in the big room.  When I pulled out photos of some of my architectural work, her comment was â€ÂÂœWhat are the precedents?  How do these places relate to what came before them?”  Ever the obedient student, when I got home I added a section on precedents to the website.  Being with Astra and Tony for a couple of days was totally delightful, and I saw that while she was still as sharp as a tack, life was no longer that easy for Astra.  I am so pleased that she was able to host the recent WMF Symposium, and I look forward to seeing how it will result in a continuation of her work and legacy.  And I am so thankful for those magical summer days with her and Tony, and for the magic of Astra’s long influence in my life.     Posted by:  Steven Holl, September 8, 2008 Homage: Astra Zarina Mystical moment at dusk The Roman sky filled with squeals of the Rondini Stories of the mythical founding of Rome Palus Caprae carried into the heavens by Mars  A tumulus marks the site Later Marcus Agrippa erects a temple 27 BC Two fires rebuilt 120 AD by Hadrian dedicated to â€ÂÂœall the gods” THE PANTHEON  First use of concrete structure not surpassed in 1000 years Zarina, this teacher her very being seemed to transfer depth of history at the roots of philosophical thought  As a student I return with sketches of a strangely curved old building Astra knows it’s built on the foundations of Teatro Pompeii where Caesar was assassinated in 44BC â€ÂÂœET TU, BRUTE..” â€ÂÂœ.. Beware the Ides of March”  The mysteries of the Nolli Map of Rome shining in a poetic lecture, three students in the studio near midnight Miracles of inspired space served up in a mixture, the proper mixture of egg whites, a carbonara …hot noodles must cook the whites Not only Rome, a universal history which connects Eye, Mind and Spirit Â  From the Golden Glow of green olive oil on a slice of tomato to the typological complexities of great urban constructions Friends of the Fabricators.  Genius of Bramante’s profound knowledge theoretical and practical.  The daily sunrise in Piazza Navona Eyes wide, the student listens â€ÂÂœBramante served under Pope Julius II during construction of Trastevere, and the Piazza of Saint Peter’s, considered the best architect in Rome, 1510. Good judgment mixed with ingenious fancy. Unthinkable well of knowledge Astra Zarina headstrong with passionate teaching Casting long shadows of enchantment Professor Colin Rowe visits again staying at Palazzo Massimo only meters away from Astra’s reconstruction A little university carved out of the ancient Palazzo Pio overlooking Campo de’ Fiori.  Dust and noise of the morning vegetable market A festival of fruit, color, smell, sound by late afternoon trashed crates burn at the foot of Giodorno Bruno Burnt there for heresy on February 17, 1600 Philosopher and proponent of heliocentrism and infinity of the universe the bronze figure anchors the Campo de’ Fiori. Unfashionable in her passion, courageously frank, Astra could destabilize and introduce thrill of thought. Â  Obedient architects might shirk towards the expedient, opportunistic Astra remained obstinate to write a â€ÂÂœNew Manifesto” of ideals  Now in the empty space imagining the spherical energy of a shaft of Roman light twisting with the sun I imagine this cerebral blossom cut off from the trough of being Architecture of the city in celebration of life The sought for thing – The Soul  – was her gift and continuing lesson  S.H. Â Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚  9/3/08    Omaggio:  Astra Zarina  Momento mistico al tramonto Il cielo di Roma riempito dal grido delle rondini Storie della fondazione mitica di Roma Palus caprae, portato nei cieli da Marte.  Un tumulo ne indica il luogo Marco Agrippa vi erigera’ un tempio 27 A.C Due incendi.  Ricostruito da Adriano, 120 D.C  dedicato a tutti gli dei, il PANTHEON.  Primo utilizzo di struttura in calcestruzzo, insuperata da 1000 anni. Zarina, maestra, sembrava con il suo essere stesso trasferire la profondita’ della storia alle radici del pensiero filosofico.  Da studente, ritorno con schizzi di un antico edificio stranamente ricurvo. Astra sa che e’ costruito sulle fondamenta del Teatro di Pompeo dove Cesare fu assassinato nel 44 A.C â€ÂÂœTu quoque, Brute..”â€ÂÂœ..attento alle Idi di Maggio” Â Ã‚  Tre studenti in uno studio, intorno a mezzanotte, I misteri della Pianta del Nolli risplendono in una poetica lezione. Meraviglie di spazi ispirati  accompagnati da una mistura, il bianco e il rosso delle uova, Una carbonara…gli spaghetti bollenti devono cuocere l’ uovo.  Non Roma soltanto, una storia universale che connette occhi  mente e spirito Dal Verde Dorato dell olio di oliva su un pomodoro alla complessita’ tipologica di grandi strutture urbane Il genio di Bramante nella profonda conoscenza teoretica e pratica. Familiarita’ con il costruire.  L’alba, ogni giorno in Piazza Navona. Ad occhi aperti, lo studente ascolta. â€ÂÂœBramante opero’ sotto Papa Giulio II durante la realizzazione di Trastevere e Piazza San Pietro, considerato il piu’ grande architetto di Roma, 1510” Grande saggezza unita a ingegnosa immaginazione Impensabile pozzo di conoscenza Astra Zarina testarda, appassionata insegnante La sua lunga ombra di incanto. Colin Rowe nuovamente in visita, alloggia a Palazzo Massimo, pochi metri soltanto dalla creazione di Astra Una piccola Universita’ ricavata dall’antico Palazzo Pio Sovrastante Campo de’ Fiori.  Polvere e rumori, al mattino il mercato all’aperto Una festa di frutta, colori, odori e suoni, nel pomeriggio le cassette gettate ardono ai piedi di Giordano Bruno Bruciato da eretico il 17 Febbraio del 1600 Filosofo sostenitore della centralita’ del sole e dell’infinita’ dell’universo, la sua figura di bronzo, a fare da  perno a Campo de’ Fiori Con la sua passione anticonformista, coraggiosamente franca, Astra sapeva sconvolgere e suscitare brividi di  pensiero.  Architetti obbedienti trovano rifugio in espedienti e opportunismo, Astra rimase ostinata a scrivere un Nuovo Manifesto di Ideali.  Ora nel vuoto, immaginando l’energia sferica di un fascio di luce romana che si muove con il sole Vedo questo germoglio dell’intelletto reciso dal trogolo dell’esistenza. Architettura della citta’ per celebrare la vita. La cosa cercata  -l’Anima-  e’ stata il suo dono e lezione perpetua. Â  S.H. Â Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚  9/3/08      Posted by:  The American Academy in Rome, September 4, 2008 Astra Zarina Tribute:   Posted by:  Maurizio e la Familia ROCCHI, September 6, 2008   Cara Iole , la scomparsa di Astra ...inaspettata , ÃÂĬ veramente arrivata su di noi e su Civita dal nulla e ciò ha reso ancora piu' difficile e amara questa perdita perdita per Tony della donna che ha amato, rispettato e aiutato fino alla fine e per noi di una persona di famiglia, si perchÃÂĬ dopo tanti anni in cui la nostra famiglia ha diviso momenti bellissimi e anche difficili con Tony e Astra, loro sono veramente parte di noi... in questi giorni ho vermante capito quanto fosse grande l'amore di Tony nei confronti della signora Astra , un amore grandissimo e puro,  lungo una vita , che ha accompagnato questa bellissima coppia fino ad oggi e che penso li accompagnerà per il resto dei loro giorni in un'altra vita....Astra per Civita ha rappresentato qualcosa di unico, con le sue idee, il suo lavoro e il suo impegno costante, ha permesso alla nostra piccola città di arrivare dove si trova adesso e sono sicuro in futuro , Cività godrà ancora di piu' del lavoro inestimabile , artistico, che lei ha fatto nel corso della sua nostra famiglia non la dimenticherà mai, anzi sarà difficile ..veramente salirea casa e non vederla lì seduta ad ascoltare buona musica , a leggere un bel libro o solamente a pensare alla grandezza di mancherà , solo il nostro cuore saprà quanto...Tony...non sarà mai solo qui, e tutti saranno felici di dare e dividere con lui ogni emozione futura e di supportarlo in caso di bisogno...ÃÂĬ una bellissima persona che abbiamo imaparato a conoscere ed amare nel corso degli anni...Grazie per la vostra mail...saremo felici di rivedervi a Settembre qui a Civita...ora il cielo di questo piccolo borgo avrà una stella bellissima in piu' che lo illuminerà per sempre....un abbraccio da tutti, Maurizio & tutta la Famiglia ROCCHI.         Posted by:  Stephen Day, September 5, 2008 I was a student of Astra's in Rome (and the following year lucky enough to be a teaching assistant to her) as part of the UW Architecture in Rome program, in the 1980's.  I am now on the Board of NIAUSI.  These experiences have changed my life and the lives of many others (including that of my wife, Nancy Josephson, a fellow architect/AIR student and AIR teaching assistant who I met in connection with the Rome programs). Anyway, a short anecdote (one of thousands possible).  When I was first a student of Astra's in Rome, she and Tony Heywood had a wonderful apartment on Via Monserato, near Campo dei Fiori.  In those days, while the Rome Center was first being planned, our program library was housed in that apartment.  On occasion she would invite students over for dinner, along with others. One night we arrived and there was another dinner guest that joined us, the great Italian author/theorist Bruno Zevi (it seemed that Astra and Tony knew everyone). Â I was awestruck by their conversation and their stories after dinner. At one point they discussed how, soon after the death of Louis Kahn (they knew him, too) Astra, Zevi and a group of other friends and admirers of Kahn's decided to walk purposefully together to the Pantheon and stand under that great oculus, to feel the power of that unique place in the world and pay tribute to this great man. Tears came to Astra' eyes in recalling the moment. So a suggestion: the next time you are in Rome, whether you are alone or with others, go to the Pantheon, stand under that oculus, think of Astra and thank her for what she has done for so many.   Posted by:  Patricia Schluter (sans umlauts), September 5, 2008 I hadn’t yet met Astra when I first moved to Roma in the mid 1980’s.  At that time, I had been offered an opportunity to work at the U.S. Embassy in Rome, but when I was shown where I would have been working -- the basement office below street level off the Via Veneto, without even a decent window-- sono scappata!  I ran like heck!  I certainly hadn’t moved to Roma to be in a basement senza finestra!  I wanted to be part of the true Roman life!  Shortly thereafter I met Astra. What a first encounter!  It was back in 1991 when she interviewed me for an administrative position at the Rome Center.  At that time, I was living in a small sea-side town about 115 km south of Rome.  I took a commuter train into the city almost daily. That day I took an earlier train. I arrived at the Pio and waited in the office on the 3rd floor for my interview with Astra.  In she came; book in hand -- to me she was larger than life!  Her entrance awed me.  We exchanged quick greetings and then without further ado, she asked me if I was aware that I had important ancestors.  I told her that my paternal grandmother was a Cronkite and that I knew of ancestry there.  Astra relied, â€ÂÂœNo, no, NOT Cronkite!  I am talking about Schluter.  And, what have you done with the umlauts?”  She then immediately opened an encyclopedia and showed me a picture of a bronze statue of German baroque sculptor and architect Andreas Schluter.  I was so entranced!  I knew then that I would learn a lot from her.   Â I worked for the UWRC in an administrative role for a few years and remained close with Astra and Tony after that time.  Â I had spent many happy days with them in Civita.  Among my fondest, was unfortunately under somewhat sad circumstances as Tony had to go to Rome to supervise the packing and moving of their possessions from the Pio to a rented apartment in Bagnoregio, which was to be used as storage space until the restoration on the newer part of the home in Civita was complete.  Tony went to Rome for a few days and I drove down from Verona, where I was living at the time, to be with Astra so that she wouldn’t be alone.   It was just me and Astra up on the hill!  I had her all to myself!  It was during these days that I really got to know Astra.  Astra who was just simply Astra!  The Astra I came to really adore and love. Â Ã‚  I have and shall cherish that time forever.  Everything I learned from Astra is with me to this day.   Â Her generosity and her thoughtfulness . . . Her class and style so very unique . . .Her every way of being . . . all part of the big equal balance of life.   A visitor to Rome once said that Astra had a unique way of occupying whatever space she was in – including all of Rome. Â Ã‚  Well, the space she occupies is much greater than that now for she occupies eternal space in all of our hearts! Â Ã‚  To YOU, Astra! Â  In profound adoration!  Ti voglio bene!   Posted by: John LaCasse, September 3, 2008 Astra Zarina I sat across the table from her as we worked over some cheese, figs and wine. She knew I was a yacht broker from the United States. And I knew she was important. We spoke in nomenclature of our business and academic background. Eventually I declared, â€ÂÂœIt is style that drives commerce, not architecture.” She squeezed her fig as a grape. Her wine spun in her glass. She cocked me a single eye, and leaned across the table. We were nose-to-nose. â€ÂÂœYou are a fake!” she declared. â€ÂÂœThe worst dilettante I have ever imagined.”  The next day it was her birthday. I was invited to Franco’s for pasta and celebration. I brought her a gift; a large model of a cement mixer as a truck. I placed the model on the table. I said, â€ÂÂœThere are no exceptions, we must always build on a solid foundation.” She looked at me. She smiled. We drank wine.   Posted by:  John McMahon, September 3, 2008  I was a student of Astra in the Master of Architecture program at UW in 1971. From the moment she first walked into the design studio, tossing her shoulder wrap across one drawing table and her Nikon onto another, I knew this was going to be great. And it was! Â  I have always remembered Astra with great fondness. My condolences to Tony at this sad time. Posted by: Robert Renouard, September 3, 2008 I share this sadness and great fondness with  my wife Anna Veraldi whom I met in Astra's garden in Civita.  The passing of Astra is one of those times when you feel the lost of an important influence in your life. For us, the experience of having known Astra and Tony literally directed our life in a direction it wouldn’t have gone otherwise.  She was the definition of a mentor who taught that quality of design didn’t exist in a void, but was a part of the greater qualities of life. Â We feel fortunate to have felt her genuine love and goodwill, and grateful that her influence will continue to guide us. Â    Posted by: Thomas Allsopp, September 2, 2008 I remember Astra at the University of Washington before Gould Hall was ever built. I was a Landscape Architecture Student and would go over across 15th to the old brick building and encounter Astra with her students. I think I was totally intimidated by her at first and then had some wonderful conversations with her, brief but wonderful, and ended up in awe of her. Litte did I know how much my life would be enriched by her vision for the Rome Center as years later I was invited to teach with Professor David Streatfield in Rome. Since then I have enjoyed the hospitality of the Rome Center and its staff a number of times. To you, Astra, and your vision for a study abroad program which has, ever since, enriched the studies and lives and art of so many disciplines, bringing back to the northwest and other areas of the country the culture and beauty of your beloved Italy. Grazie Tante.   Posted by:  Jacqueline Smith, September 2, 2008 Astra was the reason I studied in Rome and decided to do my thesis there.  Her passion for the city and her free exchange of knowledge and ideas were reasons enough to continue my studies there.  A remarkable woman with a depth of knowledge of both the city and humanity, it is no wonder she took center stage with every room she entered.  Those of us lucky enough to spend time with her in all of her settings will take those memories forever with us, as most precious moments of a mentor's unswerving devotion to her students and love of life.  Architecture and Urbanism were her professional talents, but reaching out to people and inspiring them was her magic.  She played a formidable role in my life and is greatly missed.   Posted by:  Maggi Johnson, September 2, 2008 My remembrances of Astra are very fresh, as we just visited with her and Tony in Civita this summer.  I went on the Italian Hilltowns program in 1979. Â That was back when we washed our clothes in the town fountain and the Civitonici gathered on the church steps to sing every evening.  "Belli tempi", as Ivana reminisced with me this summer.  My first really vivid memory of Astra was the morning after we had all arrived and had been entertained by some of the villagers at Al Forno the night before.  She instructed us sternly that we were NOT to go to any parties in town unless the local women were there.  I really appreciated that she thoroughly understood the social dynamics of the place and made sure that we did too.  As the very first landscape architect to be involved in the program, and a rather young and uneducated one at that, I was a bit intimidated by the program and especially by Astra.  She pushed me.  But to have that experience at that particular time in my life was wonderfully rich and formative.  I still think of it as one of the best things I have ever done.  This summer, I had the opportunity to share Civita with my family.  We stayed in the studio, and when we went next door to say hello to Astra and Tony, one of the first things she did was to correct my pronunciation of "bruschetta"  (I had been pronouncing it the American way).  Intimidating again!  She clearly was not well and she and Tony seemed very fragile, living in that beautiful but tough environment.  She wanted us to get together and "have a little party!"  but most days she was not up it. We did get together twice for wine and some food, Â and she was completely gracious, lending us books (including Bill Hooks inspiring watercolor portfolio) and giving us advice on where to visit.  She invited my kids to see her turtles (did you know Tony and Astra kept 2 or 3 big turtles on their terrace?) and told the following story, a sweet little insight into her young life:  "When I was a little girl, I knew a Jewish girl who had a little turtle and she would put it right on her chest and Oooh, I wanted a turtle like that!  So after I was grown up I have always kept a turtle."  I am so grateful to Astra for making the experience of Civita available to me and to everyone else, as well as her inspiration, teaching and leadership.  I am so glad that I had a chance to thank her before she died.    Posted by:  Paul and Kim Saporito, September 2, 2008 Thank you for forwarding the sad news.  A number of years ago Colin Rowe had a gathering of about 400 of his closest drinking buddies in Ithaca. I had known that he had stayed at the Pio as a guest of Astra, and conveyed to him greetings from her. His response was that he coined the superlative "Astrissima" for his friend. She chuckled when I told her the story.   Posted by Heather Viall, September 2, 2008 From Civita:  Padre Marco gave a beautiful mass for Astra talking about what a good and generous heart she had and how much she loved and cared for Civita.  How she was so giving and gave more importance to Civita than possibly some of its own born residents.  How she contributed so much to the town and that the seeds she planted here would grow to be what she had wanted them to be. The mayor also spoke at the end comparing Astra to San Bonaventura and other important saints saying that she is a person who will always be remembered as a "saint" of Civita for all of her selfless contributions to the community and that all of her work would continue to grow and prosper here in Civita, mentioning NAUSI and the symposium as examples.  I am sorry you weren't here to say goodbye to her, it was a very moving service and there were many people here to say goodbye, in fact the church was full.  I know you were here in spirit and we hope to see you soon.  All my best     Posted by: NIAUSI, September 1, 2008, Â  Dear Friends of Professor Emeritus Astra Zarina and NIAUSI, It is with great sadness that we report that Astra, our dear friend, professor, inspiration, and founder of NIAUSI, passed away Saturday, August 31, 2008.  Astra has meant so much to so many of us.  Her legacy lives on through her students, her architectural work and teaching, her friends, NIAUSI, and the work we share with Astra and Tony in Civita and Italy. Our thoughts and prayers are with her husband Tony Heywood in Civita di Bagnoregio and her family in Seattle.  A funeral mass will be held at the Chiesa di San Donato in Civita, Tuesday, September 2nd, at 10:00 a.m.. Friends of our beloved Astra will gather in Seattle at Osteria La Spiga Wednesday evening, September 3rd, at 5:30 pm to raise a glass in honor of her influence, her life, her teaching, and her passing: Â Osteria La Spiga, 429 12th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122, (206) 323-8881. Thank you to Kathryn Merlino, UW Department of Architecture, for organizing this initial memorial event.  NIAUSI is working with Astra's family on a tribute to our most remarkable mentor.  We will disseminate information as it becomes available.  Thank you all for your support in this most difficult time. NIAUSI      posted by:  Jim Corey, September 2, 2008 I met Astra and Tony in 1999 when Clark and I moved to Civita and lived with them for three months. Â  Throughout those crucial formative moments in my life, I was honored to be personally welcomed by them into the heart of old Italy.  I met the unbelievable Civita di Bagnoregio, the Civitonici, their amazing houses, their beautiful gardens, the shopping, the beliefs, the life, the intersupport, the community and chiesa, and the meals and conversations which daily lasted over eight hours. Â I was transformed by this experience - Astra downloaded to us her belief in living the good life of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness. Â  I suddenly became passionate about life.  I became extremely creative and design oriented.  I became charged with something hard to describe - this heightened interest in and desire to better the environments we are in through space and experience.  It was all about how to be together, and design moments and structures supporting that.  That was the genius of Astra to me.  From the house to the flowers to the candles, it all made sense when you had her eye to eye.  And it makes sense now, because it is true, beautiful, and good.  Thank you, thank you, thank you. When we returned to Seattle in 1999, I got an art studio, and started painting my own versions of the themes of the Italian masters with local models.  I haven't been able to stop painting ever since, and Astra and Tony have been consulting all along the way. Â I became a passionate painter thanks to her.  I will always remember your presence Astra - your face, your voice, your hands, that great hair, those eyes, your love, your mind, your brilliiance, and your hug.  None of us have ever met, nor will we ever meet, another human being like you. May you rest in peace and visit often, Love Jim Â Ã‚ Ã‚  p.s. Check out the poppy fields...       ÂÂ