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Casitas de Colores Wins International Center for Active Design Award

Casitas De Colores

Casitas de Colores, a mixed-income housing community in downtown Albuquerque and designed by Dekker/Perich/Sabatini, is a winner of the Center for Active Design: Excellence awards, recognizing projects worldwide that are defining the intersection of health and design. This is the fifth design award Casitas de Colores has received and its first international award. Casitas de Colores and other award winners will be celebrated at a reception in New York, NY on May 11.

Active design strategies incorporated and recognized by Center for Active Design include Casitas de Colores’ walkable context and proximity to the Alvarado Transportation Center, restaurants, entertainment, schools, employment and services. Its open stairwells, outdoor courtyards with play equipment and barbeque grills, natural light and walking paths also enhance the pedestrian experience.

Interior courtyard at Casitas de Colores.

“The project team prioritized making Casitas de Colores a vibrant community to attract families downtown and spur more activity in the area,” said Ron Witherspoon, Principal at Dekker/Perich/Sabatini and project manager for Casitas de Colores. “To do that, we created common spaces that encourage neighbors to interact and build a stronger community together. The whole design really promotes pride of place and integrates Casitas into its downtown context.”

Casitas de Colores is fully leased and has helped push forward Albuquerque’s Downtown 2025 Sector Development Plan, which prioritizes pedestrians, a “park once” concept and community activity. Because Casitas de Colores has been successful in bringing people to the city’s core, new developments – including the mixed-use Imperial Building that’s bringing downtown its first full-sized grocery store – are underway.

“It’s a holistic housing project, with a lot of reference to the culture of the community,” said Anne-Rachel Schiffmann according to the Center for Active Design. “It’s also great that the project has not only addressed Active Design but also spurred economic development downtown, leading to the opening of a new grocery store.”

Casitas de Colores residents holding an event in outdoor area. Photo courtesy of Verna Collins/Casitas de Colores.

Co-developed by Romero Rose (the Southwest affiliate of Jonathan Rose Companies) and YES Housing, Inc., Casitas de Colores has brought much needed affordable housing for families to downtown Albuquerque. Casitas de Colores opened in January 2014. It has three LEED Platinum and one LEED Gold certification for its sustainable features. It was designed by Dekker/Perich/Sabatini and built by Bradbury Stamm.