Zarina, Astra

Astra Zarina

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Dates of Birth and Death



Riga, Latvia


  • BArch [University of Washington] [1954]
  • MArch [MIT] [1955]
  • [TU Karlsruhe] [1947]

Years of practice

1954–2008 (estimated)


American Academy in Rome, Cività di Bagnoregio, Italy, Rome, University of Washington


Early life and education

Born 1929, Riga, Latvia; died 2008, Italy. Moved with family to Germany, then the U.S. after World War II. She began to study architecture at TU Karlsruhe in 1947 and continued from 1951-54 at the University of Washington, where she earned a B.Arch. She received an M.Arch from MIT in 1955.

Career in Architecture

Worked first with Paul Kayden Kirk, then (following MIT) for Minoru Yamasaki in Detroit. Began teaching for the University of Washington in Seattle in 1965. In 1970, she initiated the UW Rome Architecture in Rome program, and later established the UW Hilltowns program in Cività di Bagnoregio, Italy. She received a permanent appointment from UW as Professor of Urban Design and Planning in 1985 and established the Northwest Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in Italy (NIAUSI) in Seattle.

Major Buildings and Projects

Märkisches Viertel neighborhood of 5000, Berlin

Remodeled UW Rome Center facilities in historic Palazzo Pio, Rome

Cività di Bagnoregio restoration projects

Press and Awards

First woman to receive the American Academy’s Rome Prize Fellowship in Architecture in 1960. Also received a Fulbright Grant for continued study in Italy. In 1979 she received a Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of Washington.


I tetti di Roma: Le terrazze, le altane, le belvederi (with Balthazar Korab), 1976

Institutional Affiliations

University of Washington, Seattle

American Academy in Rome

AIA Seattle, Honorary member (1994)