Sustainable Housing Pilot

Kestrel Community

Louisville, CO

In the 5 years from 2010-2015, median income increased by 4% in Boulder County. Home prices and rents increased by over 40%. In an effort to provide residents with adequate housing, community connectivity, and neighborhood diversity, without compromising energy efficiency the Boulder County Housing Authority enlisted Humphries Poli Architects to master plan and design the 13-acre site of the future Kestrel Community.

Located in the northern part of Louisville, CO, the site is a remaining vestige of Louisville’s rural past, surrounded by development on all sides. The final scope called for two developments nested within one site: 70 units of active senior housing and 108 units of affordable housing.

To provide the needed vehicular, pedestrian, utility, parking, and fire access, an ‘alley loop’ ties the four quadrants of the site together. The ‘alley loop’, also known as the ’ring road’, was envisioned as a pedestrian way that also supports vehicular traffic at a slow speed. Within the block structure established by the ring-road, HPA designed a set of small, fine-grained multi-family housing buildings. These buildings are designed to be offset, rotated, mirrored, and aligned to create a highly varied neighborhood built with an economically appropriate degree of repetition. To support the neighborhood’s diversity, each unit type offers a different mix of fully accessible ground-floor units that offer aging-in-place opportunities beyond the senior building. Each neighborhood open space is framed by a mix of family-friendly two-and-three bedroom units with senior-friendly one-bedroom units.


The sustainable design of the Kestrel dwelling units is based on BCHA’s work with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in a Sustainable Housing Pilot Project that established the superior performance of geothermal heating and cooling for the Colorado front range. In combination with extraordinarily tight building envelopes, thick insulation, all-LED lighting, and ‘solar-ready’ roofs, the Kestrel development is designed to be capable of going ‘fossil fuel free’ with the installation of a sufficiently sized solar photovoltaic system.