Visible Foundation

A column foundation and a strip footing are displayed in the ILC by cut-outs in the floor. The column foundation is an example of a shallow foundation, as is the strip footing of the shear wall.

The purpose of a footing is to extend several feet under the building to distribute loads from a structure to the ground. The bottom of the footing must be deeper than frost penetration and the footing should be well drained in order to prevent "wash-out."

There are two types of foundation used in construction: shallow and deep. Shallow foundations are found where the ground soil or finished surface is stiff enough to support a load, and they typically support an individual point load like a structural column, or a line of loads, often a wall or a row of columns that are close together.

Deep foundations are usually more than 3m below the finished ground surface, and are used to transfer loads to deeper strata when the shallow surface isn't suitable. Piles and piers are examples of deep foundations.

Types of wall and column support footings include:

  • Column or Isolated Footing: use to support columns.
  • Spread or a Strip Footing: used to support walls where multiple loads interact.
  • Stepped Footing: a wall footing used on hills.
  • Mat or Raft Footing: large spread-out footing that supports multiple columns and walls. Resists movement between loading positions on loose soils.
  • Haunched Slab Footing: used for areas with no frost; footing has a sloping face.
  • Pile with Cap: used in areas with poor soil, or for heavy loads.

The ILC's shear wall foundation is displayed inside the Design Studio, while the column footing is located beside Room 104, off the main atrium. The exposed foundation has been built so that strain gauging can be added to the concrete, to test the column under live and dead load. The IL Centre has also installed a learning column, which allows students to add load underneath a column, via a hydraulic jack placed between a column and its foundation. Students can measure the changes in strain on an I-Beam above the column as they add force underneath.

Foundation (trim)