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The Evolution of Building Foundations Through History

Last updated 6 years ago

As you behold the many technological marvels of today’s world, it can be easy to look at the efforts of the past with indifference. However, societies could not have achieved their present level of sophistication without the countless trials and errors of our predecessors. Building foundations, for example, have changed numerous times before arriving at today’s stellar level of geotechnical engineering. Here’s a brief look at the evolution of building foundations throughout history:


Though humans spent a considerable amount of early history in caves and mud huts, homes eventually advanced to become substantial structures. It wasn’t long before people learned that buildings needed to be built on flat surfaces in order to remain upright. The pyramids of Egypt, for example, were built on impressive foundations that have lasted for nearly 4,500 years so far.


As great minds like Galileo Galilei and Isaac Newton expanded society’s knowledge of gravity and physics, building methods became much more sophisticated. Builders learned that heavier, taller structures required deep foundations, while shorter buildings could be constructed with shallower ones. Architects during this time also realized that they could use foundations to evenly distribute the weight of structures among the soil and bedrock.

Modern Advances

During the modern era, excavation methods and builders’ understanding of physics have improved, allowing for the development of even more sophisticated building foundations. For example, outstanding engineering in Japan allowed tall skyscrapers to withstand the major 2011 earthquake that caused a devastating tsunami. The development of slab concrete, steel, and pier and beam foundations have made structures safer all around the world. Though some individuals like to think that society has reached the pinnacle of geotechnical engineering, society undoubtedly still has much to learn.

In spite of thousands of years of development, many foundations can fail if not cared for properly. If you suspect that your foundation has cracked or shifted, call Structured Foundation Repairs, Inc. in Ft. Worth at (972) 484-1200. We provide a number of high-quality foundation services—including repairs, mudjacking, and drainage correction.


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