The single largest project of the Wentworth Villa restoration was undoubtedly the installation of a seismically reinforcing foundation.
To understand how substantial a project it was to install this foundation, it is helpful to picture what the Villa was supported by for 151 years. The frame of Wentworth rested on a mix of three types of foundation; brick piers, rough split Fir on flat rocks and granite rock chimney footings. The earth under the Villa is, unfortunately, not structurally supportive and it allowed all but the granite footings to sink into the soil. The crawlspace under the floorboards varried in height but was 24 inches at its highest point and 0 inches at its lowest. Due to the sensitivity of the surrounding gardens and other factors, the foundation was dug out by hand from the inside. Access to the crawlspace was via a hole in one side of the wrap around veranda.
During the installation, the crawlspace was increased to 36 inches deep and trenches for the new foundation were taken down to a more stable base or bed rock in many cases. A concrete foundation wall was installed around the perimeter of the building; the wall was designed in such a way that it encased and preserved the original foundation. Additional concrete footings with Fir posts were added intermittantly under the floor beams.
It was decided not to re-level the building and instead Wentworth was secured in its settled state. Over the past years, adjustments had been made to the windows, doors, thresholds, hearths and floorboards in order to accommodate the settling of the building and it would detract from the accumulated character of the building to return it to its original state.
Now that the Wentworth Villa foundation is complete we can be certain the Villa will last to elighten generations to come.