Check Out This 21-Century Root-Cellar Addition

Our team of engineers are licensed to assess and design solutions for a variety of structural challenges faced by property owners. This was a particularly fun and unique challenge. One of our engineers was asked to help a client add a root-cellar to their basement. 

A root cellar? Yep, a root cellar. The first appearance of root-cellars was in 17th century England. A root cellar is a room below ground that is cooler than the surrounding area. They were essentially the first type of refrigerator, mostly used for the storage of fruits, vegetables, and nuts. 

Present-day food storage has rendered root-cellars unnecessary, but they used to be an integral part of a family home, preserving food during the winter. When the electric refrigerator was introduced to the public in the 1920s & 30s, root-cellars went out of favor. 

Our client wanted to construct a root-cellar that attached to their basement, so they would be able to walk from their basement directly into the cellar. There were a few different challenges with this build that made it more fun. Firstly, the root-cellar had to be constructed deep enough in the ground that it could maintain a cool temperature throughout the year. 

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Secondly, the cellar needed to be attached directly to the home, which meant they would share movement patterns. With Colorado’s volatile soil, it was imperative that the cellar was structurally sound and didn’t shift with the expansion and contraction of the soil surrounding it. 

There were a few outside factors that the engineers also needed to consider while designing the build.  First, the root-cellar was being placed adjacent to an existing swimming pool, which meant there was a possibility of movement between the two structures. And second, the owner may be driving a tractor over the area, and the added load would need to be calculated during the design process.

They modeled the complete structure in 3D and created a structural plan for the contractor. This gave the homeowners an idea of how the structure would look. 

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Our engineer used a CMU block wall structure with a curved concrete roof so that the client could walk down a few steps from the basement directly into the cellar. 

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We loved engineering this 21st-Century root cellar for our client. 

Level’s engineers enjoy helping property owners with additions – traditional and unique.  If you have an idea for your home, that includes structural modifications, Level Engineering would be happy to assist you in the design process. 

Give our client relations team a call at (720) 408-0119, and they can assist you in setting up a time for one of our engineers to meet with you about your design idea.

Picture of Scott Zurn, P.E.

Scott Zurn, P.E.

Founder and CEO of Level Engineering & Level Design Partners. With more than 4 decades of experience, Scott Zurn has contributed to all aspects of the building industry, serving both public and private sectors. He’s achieved tremendous success in commercial and residential markets, held leadership roles such as building official, city engineer, and director for local governments, and accomplished hundreds of millions of dollars in successful commercial building and civil infrastructure as a designer, project manager, and leader. As the Founder of the Level brand, Scott is dedicated to ensuring the entrepreneurial success of design professionals, as well as creating positive environmental impacts through design work. Read Scott’s full bio here.

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