Architect James “Jace” Burris sits with his dog, Pippi, at his architecture office off Old Frankfort Pike, considering the future that will shortly be emerging from a converted building in Richmond.
His office, JCBarchitect, is thick with projects past and current, including the second floor of the Kentucky Clinic building at the former Turfland Mall.
But the Richmond location is where Burris’ company, Blueframe Design + Build, will soon begin producing prefabricated buildings for various markets, including single-family homes and and a 40-unit design for housing the elderly.
Burris doesn’t see himself as competing with the big mobile home producers such as Clayton Homes in the mobile and modular market.
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“We’re going to be doing the prototypes in these smaller studio-type projects with it, and we’re pursuing some investment companies with that,” he said. “We may also be a developer with putting them out some places on our own.”
In Blueframe’s business plan, the housing “seeks to foster the stewardship of our client’s health and resources, as well as the stewardship of our environment at large.”
Blueframe will include “flexible designs with moderate square footages” and universal design, along with an emphasis on low environmental impact, indoor air quality, energy efficiency, aging in place and easy modification. One idea Burris is considering is a design for a one-bedroom, one-bath unit that can be expanded as the owner’s needs grow and change.
The company’s short-term objectives include developing applications for elderly housing, multi-family, disaster relief and light commercial buildings, in addition to beginning production on its full range of elderly housing units as well as multi-family and single-family prototypes.
By the end of five years, Burris hopes the manufacturing plant will build 50-75 structures a year; after that, more than 100 structures a year, along with regional expansion. Plans are to employ 10-20 people within the next few years.
Before establishing JCB Architect in 2013, Burris worked for EOP Architects and Pohl Rosa Pohl. Projects included the Raven Run Nature Center, Southland Christian Church on Richmond Road and Proof Fitness in downtown Lexington. Before that, he was worked in carpentry and home building in subdivisions such as Firebrook and Palomar.
The construction industry reporting website Construction Dive listed prefab/offsite construction methods becoming more popular as one of the top building trends for 2016 as a way to cut costs and minimize build time. Green building, such as making environmentally friendly structures, is another trend cited.
Architect Jace Burris has an inspirational quote from John Ruskin, an English art critic of the Victorian area, printed on an interior window at his office:
“When we build, let us think that we build for ever. Let it not be for present delight, nor for present use alone: Let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for, and let us think, as we lay stone on stone, that a time is to come when those stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say, as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, ‘See! This our father did for us.’”