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The 2016 hurricane season is already a nasty one. Storms pummeled the Caribbean islands, Central America, Mexico and the US. And in New Jersey, people are preparing for the next big one by raising their houses up an entire level.
The painstaking construction project requires a unified hydraulic jacking system to slooooowly crank an entire house up inch by inch. Over several months, the house teeters on stilts as a crew pours the new, taller foundation. “They’re perched on these wooden supports that look almost like Jenga games,” says Ira Wagner. “It seems so precarious.”
The New Jersey photographer documented 100 homes as they undergo this transformation for his fascinating series House Raising. It features everything from craftsman bungalows to modernist mansions hovering several feet above ground—one with flowers still blooming in its window boxes. When completed, the homes will presumably be safer from the dangers of the sea while enjoying a better view of it.
House raising took off in New Jersey just months after Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012 , damaging or destroying 346,000 homes. New state regulations and expanded FEMA flood maps followed, encouraging home owners in flood-prone areas to raise their homes to dodge soaring insurance premiums. Houses are typically lifted around three to 10 feet off the ground, and can cost over $150,000. […]