to our first email newsletter. For over
20 years NIAUSI has enriched the lives of Northwest
design professionals through our fellowship programs,
design charettes and community activities. Now, we
are enlarging our presence both in Italy and in the
Through this quarterly newsletter we will
be informing you of our new programs and local presentations,
as well as updating you on the fellowship and residency
remain committed to providing an opportunity for
mid-career professionals to pursue studies
in Italy, and have expanded that program to offer
both the traditional fellowship as well as
residencies. Even better is that we have taken the
first steps toward establishing an institute in Civita
di Bagnoregio, a spectacular hilltown north of Rome.
Our plan is for the institute to accommodate seminars,
workshops, and study programs, thus allowing greater
numbers of our colleagues to experience this unique
the generous help of NIAUSI founding members Professor
Emeritus Astra Zarina and Tony Costa Heywood, we
started implementing our plan last fall,
when we sent our 2003 NIAUSI Fellow,
M J Anderson, to Civita
for two months
to study the role of niches in public spaces.
the same time, Cory Crocker, a Seattle architect,
a one month residency furthering his research on
sustainable communities. We also awarded a residency
to Mary Ann Peters, a Seattle public artist, who
used Civita this past April as a base to study Italian
and their influence on space. Next spring our 2005
fellow, James Harrison, will be in Civita to study
local masonry techniques and Betty Torrell, our
2005 Resident, will be in Civita to research
and its relationship to the concept of home.
are developing the Civita Institute into a true resource
for the design community - a place for the exchange
of ideas and expertise, a place for reflection and
renewal, a place for professional growth, and an
opportunity for collaboration with colleagues abroad.
We look forward to working with the design community
as we embark on this new course.
Enjoy our first edition and let us know what you
This Year's Fellow and Resident
the words of James Harrison and Betty
Torrell, the NIAUSI Fellowship and Residency
recipients of 2004 respectively, here are their proposed
projects. Both projects will be conducted in Civita
di Bagnoregio, Italy in the Summer of 2005.
as part of the exhibition 'Blurred' CoCA Seattle
Techniques: Stacking and Carving Space
am an artist working in the arena between sculpture
and architecture. As someone who is fascinated by
construction techniques, I will be studying the masonry
of Civita in order to expand my own vocabulary of
making. I will study the tectonics of building in
this unique place, so my agenda is to discover from
the point of view of the maker, the mason. If it
is at all possible I will build in Civita somewhere,
but if that is not practical I will build a piece
upon returning to the Northwest that is based upon
is known that masons have 'rules of thumb' for laying
brick and stone. Many of these rules are handed
down orally during the apprenticeship process. Aside
from the transit, level, plumb bob, and string, there
are numerous and perhaps countless techniques for
laying up a wall. I am interested in studying
these local 'mechanics' of wall building. I
will use my time to study local wall types, construction
techniques, mason's manuals, and other relevant material.
am ultimately interested in ways these techniques
can be updated and transformed to work with the
materials of the Northwest, namely wood and steel. I
will pay particular attention to methods used to
create transtions, say the moment a wall becomes
a squinch, or has to turn a corner, or span an opening. It
is in these moments when masonry tries to break free
A Study of the Fireplace in Civita di Bagnoregio
stable central fire has always been the focal point
of home. Ovid writes that the focus is
the Latin word for hearth and that 'the
hearth (focus) is so named from the flames,
and because it fosters all things.' " -Anthony
Lawlor, A Home for the Soul, Clarkson Potter/Publishers,
New York, 1997)
I am a practicing architect with an office that
specializes in residential architecture and
interior design. My interest in Italian architecture
studies in Italy as part of the University of Washington’s foreign
study program, Italian Hilltowns in Civita di Bagnoregio and the Architecture
in Rome programs.
proposal for the NIAUSI residency focuses on the
hearth in Civita. As the domestication
of fire has shaped our culture, the hearth
has shaped our houses.
From a simple and direct form as fire pit or campfire, the hearth evolved
into a symbol of status or wealth with its
original purpose relegated to the microwave
oven, the cellar or the outbuilding. In Civita the hearth remains a viable
and lively part of the contemporary culture of the home.
purpose of the project is two-fold, a study of the
hearth both as an idea and as an artifact. The physical
documentation of the hearths of Civita
Bagnoregio is the basis for the study of the hearth as an artifact. The
these hearths through measured drawings, photographs, the inventory of
materials, and their use and context will play an important role in preserving
of this unique built environment. The second purpose of the project is
an attempt to understand the way in which the hearth, a tool to warm
and produce light became the center of the home, enlightening and enlivening
the life in the house. The hearth in Civita plays an important role in
domestic culture throughout the year, especially
at holidays when food
of the family’s activites and traditions. This knowledge will be
a valuable tool in the design of rich and meaningful contemporary residential
Civita Institute: the
Center for the Study of Italian Hilltowns, is a
place for scholarly
collaboration, reflection and retreat, located
in the 2,600 year old Italian hilltown of Civita
di Bagnoregio. The institute manages an extensive
archive of documentation on Rome, Italian hilltowns,
and on Civita di Bagnoregio in particular.
institute disseminates pertinent material on Italy
and Italian hilltowns amassed over three decades
of research. The international institute sponsors
individual fellowships for architects, academics
and artists, hosts scholarly conferences, and shares
its ample archives with researchers.
The mission of
the Civita Institute is to inspire and foster an
interdisciplinary understanding of the unique qualities
of Italian hilltowns that remain pertinent to our
contemporary experience, through the promotion of
historical preservation, scholarly research, artistic
creation, and professional exploration.
plan is to establish a base
in Italy that will serve for fellowships and residencies,
a point of contact for collaboration with foreign
colleagues, and a setting for small conferences and
urban related studies.
The Civita Institute will be housed in the properties
of Astra Zarina and Tony Costa Heywood in the town
of Civita di Bagnoregio near Orvieto. Astra’s
library, research, teaching materials, copies of selected
student projects and the archives from over thirty
years teaching in Rome and Civita will be organized
for use. We are sure that this spectacular place will
continue to inspire thought and discovery.
on the development of the center will be announced
here in future editions.
M J Anderson, NIAUSI Fellow of 2003
studio artist for over twenty years, M J
Anderson carves marble and travertine as
fine art sculptures and for public commissions, working
both in her studio on the Oregon coast as well as
her studio in the village of Torano, in the hills
above Carrara, Italy.
the NIAUSI Fellow of last year,
M J Anderson researched the placement of the architectural
niche as it provides intimate emotional content to
the fabric of village life. The
unique aspect of the niche, largely left out of American
architecture and modern buildings, is a neighborhood
cultural icon that truly incorporates the human spirit
into the architectural texture of a place.
long term project in regard to the niche is to reintroduce
this architectural form into future "percent
for art" building projects in the Northwest
and to develop my work in such a way as to be in
tune with the spacial context and intimacy of expression
that is possible in this form of public artwork.”
research on the fellowship has already influenced
her sculptural work, which has always been a blend
of contemporary sensibilities within the context
of antiquity. Currently she is at work on a commission
for the Church of the Resurrection in Solon, Ohio.
This piece will be one of the first religious depictions
of the three Marys.
us November 18th for a presentation
by Anderson of her fellowship research and current
her website for
more examples of Anderson's artful stone carving.
di Bagnoregio: Una città da salvare
to the familiar epitaph for Civita often quoted in
tourist books of "a city that is dying," is a new
motto: a city that survives!
1990 ENEA, the former Italian nuclear energy commission,
made a geological study of the slopes below the
bluffs of Civita. Numerous probes were installed
to measure any shifting of earth and these readings
have been continuously monitored.
protection ministry funded
a $600.000 experimental project.
deep concrete lined pits were constructed inside
the endangered bluff. Using micro pile technology,
reinforced concrete tie-backs were installed anchoring
the unstable mass to the solid material under Civita.
to shore up walls
selected course of action had the following restrictions:
the stability of the walls adjacent the intervention;
to maintain the appearance of the landscape
as tribute to the artistic and historical value
of the town, and lastly, to extend the benefits
of the procedure to the "Canon Grande" area.
restoration project is on budget, addresses imminent concerns, and
anticipates future needs.
Public Presentation on November 18th
join us for an evening of short presentations by
last year's fellow and residents. Featured will be
slide shows and descriptions of the work they completed
while in Civita di Bagnoregio. M J Anderson will
share the results of her research and current sculptural
commissions. Cory Crocker will present
his study of the sustainability of Italian hilltowns.
Maryann Peters will elaborate on
her interest in how imagery influences
spaces, including the fresco traditions of Italy.
event will be on Thursday, November 18th beginning
at 6:00pm, at the headquarters of
NBBJ Architects in Pioneer Square. Refreshments will
be served and there will be a cash bar with proceeds
going to NIAUSI. As a NIAUSI Newsletter subscriber
you will receive an email with more details later.
We look forward to seeing you.
is located at 111 S Jackson Street (Pioneer Square),
for Equipment Donations
NIAUSI's first goal for the Civita
Institute is to develop an electronic library by digitizing
the extensive collection of
images, maps, sketches and studies of Italian hilltowns,
and particularly of Civita di Bagnoregio.
We need specific computer and photographic equipment
task, such as computers,
scanners, cameras, printers and related peripherals.
If you have any suggestions or know of potential donors
Donations to our
non-profit organization are tax-deductible.
Work Study Position
NIAUSI and the Civita Institute are currently
advertising a student work study position to help with
the archiving project. The position will be hosted at
the University of Washington campuses with financial
support by from the State of Washington. Please share
this notice with students who may be interested
in applying for the position. They may contact the UW
Work Study Office or send us an email with
their resume and academic goals. Applicants must be eligible
for financial aid.
Editors: Iole Alessandrini and Cory Crocker