Jump to content

SAFE Building System

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The SAFE Building System, also known as the SAFE Foundation System, is a way to build in flood zones and coastal areas, developed by architect and inventor Greg Henderson and his team at Arx Pax Labs, Inc. It is designed to float buildings, roadways, and utilities in a few feet of water.[1] The self-adjusting floating environment draws from existing technologies used to float concrete bridges and runways such as Washington's SR 520 and Japan's Mega-Float.[2] It also absorbs the shock of earthquakes, allowing buildings and their related communities to remain stable.[3] Arx Pax is working with Republic of Kiribati and Pacific Rising to solve for sustainable development challenges associated with rising sea levels.[4]

Arx Pax, the company involved in this technology has proposed building a “floating village” project in north San Jose's Alviso hamlet, deploying a group of pontoons beneath the buildings to protect the development from floods and earthquakes.[5]

Originally developed for earthquakes as an alternative to Base Isolation the floating foundation decouples the structure from the earth with a simple patented method consisting of three parts. According to the patent, "Three part foundation systems can include a containment vessel, which constrains a buffer medium to an area above the containment vessel, and a construction platform. A building can be built on the construction platform. In a particular embodiment, during operation, the construction platform and structures built on the construction platform can float on the buffer medium. In an earthquake, a construction platform floating on a buffer medium may experience greatly reduced shear forces. In a flood, a construction platform floating on a buffer medium can be configured to rise as water levels rise to limit flood damage."[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hawkins, Andrew. "This hoverboard startup wants to create floating cities to combat climate change". The Verge. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  2. ^ Wachs, Audrey. "This company is designing floating buildings to combat climate change disasters". The Architect's Newspaper. Retrieved 31 October 2016.
  3. ^ Singer, Isabel (3 November 2017). "Round up: New foundation system, BIM, completed jobs, and European expansion". BuiltWorlds. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  4. ^ McGauley, Joe. "These Ingenious Floating Houses Will Save Us From Rising Sea Levels". Thrillist. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  5. ^ ""Floating village" eyed in San Jose's Alviso area could ward off floods, quakes, rising seas". The Mercury News. 2018-05-24. Retrieved 2018-08-15.
  6. ^ US 8777519, Henderson, D. Gregory, "Methods and apparatus of building construction resisting earthquake and flood damage", issued July 15, 2014