Types of column

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What is a Column in Construction?

In architecture and building construction, a column or pillar is the most significant structural element that aids in the transmission of load from above to the ground. The column carries all of the loads from the slab, beam, ceiling, and arches and transfers them to the footing and into the earth. Columns are similar to bones in the human body. Bones provide us strength, keep us steady, and transport all of our body weight to our legs. In the buildings, the columns operate just like that. It is essential to the structure’s survival. The columns’ strength is determined by the material, form, size, length, and cross-section utilized in their construction.

A column might also be used as an ornamental element, but mostly it is used as a structural element.



In early 2600 BC, the Egyptians employed a column. During that period, the architect Imhotep created the first stone column. Egyptian columns were adorned with numerous organic shapes such as papyrus, lotus, and palm. They were intricately carved and ornamented

Egyptian columns are most renowned in the Great Hypostyle Hall of Karnak (approximately 1224 BC), where 134 columns are lined up in sixteen rows, some reaching heights of 24 m. (Source: Wikipedia)

Greek and Roman

The Egyptians, Persians, and other civilizations employed the columns for structural purposes, but the Greeks and Romans used them extensively on the façade and inside of the structure. The Parthenon is the most well-known example. The Greeks created classical architectural orders with varied shapes and components. The Greeks created the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian orders, while the Romans added two more, the Tuscan and Composite orders.

Types of Columns

Columns can be classified based on several conditions:-

  1. Based on the type of Reinforcement used
  2. Based on Slenderness Ratio
  3. Based on Shape
  4. Based on Materials used for the construction
  5. Other types of Column

Based on the type of reinforcement used

  • Tied Column
  • Spiral Column
  • Composite Column

Based on Slenderness Ratio

  • Short Column
  • Long Column
  • Intermediate Column

Based on shape

  • Rectangle or Square
  • Circular
  • Hexagonal
  • Octagonal
  • T shape
  • L shape

Based on Materials used for the construction

Other types of columns

  • Pilotis
  • Piers
  • Post
  • Knotted
  • Colonnette
  • Caryatid
  • Solomonic

(A detailed definition of every type of column will be added in the coming days.)

Difference between Column and Beam

The column carries all of the loads from the slab, beam, ceiling, and arches and transfers them to the footing and into the earth.The beam carries all the horizontal loads from the walls, ceiling, slab, etc., and transfers them to the columns.
It carries or resists compression load.It carries or resists bending and shearing forces.
It is available in shapes like rectangles, squares, circles, T, and L.It is available in shapes like rectangles, squares, T, I, and H.
The minimum width of the column should be 200 mm (normal) and for earthquake resistance, 300 mm.The minimum width of the beam shouldn’t be less than 200 mm.
A structure cannot be constructed with columns.A structure can be made without beams.
Columns can collapse suddenly without giving warning.It gives warning signs like cracking and deflection before failure.
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Ar. Raju Kumar
Ar. Raju Kumar

Ar. Raju Kumar, a proud graduate in architecture, is making strides in the professional world. With a deep love for both writing and architecture, Raju brings a unique view to his designs. His journey, enriched by a diploma in architecture, shows his commitment to learning and growth. As a dedicated professional, Raju always looks for ways to improve his skills, aiming to make a lasting impact in the architectural field.

Raju Kumar (Asst. Architect)
Raju Kumar (Asst. Architect)

Raju Kumar is a talented 5th-year undergraduate student currently pursuing adegree in architecture. With a strong passion for both writing and architecture,Raju brings a unique perspective to the field. Holding a diploma in architecture,he actively seeks opportunities to enhance his skills and broaden his expertise as an aspiring architect.

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