A house with a basement starts with a hole about 8 feet deep. At the bottom of the hole is a concrete slab, and then concrete or cinder-block walls form the outer walls of the basement. Actually, a basement is poured in three pieces in most cases: the "beams," then the walls, and then the slab inside the walls, like this.
This approach helps keep the basement waterproof. The L-shaped piece is a steel reinforcing bar to bind the beam and the wall together.