After 346,000 homes were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, home owners along the New Jersey coastline began raising their homes - both to prepare for future flooding and avoid higher home insurance premiums.
Local photographer Ira Wagner has captured the trend spreading through these communities. These homes are raised up by a hydraulic jacking system inch by inch until they're three to ten feet off the ground. From there, the homes are supported by what Wagner calls stilts (a.k.a. pilings) as work crews pour new foundations.
In a series on Wagner's works, Wired shows the changing landscape of what it means to leave by the shore.
Some owners try to disguise the lower level by converting it into a garage or covering it with clapboard or shrubbery, but the awkwardness remains. The herculean effort and risk almost doesn’t seem worth it. “People want to be near the water, yet the water, for all its beauty, is a threatening environment,” Wagner says. The homes in House Raising are an unsettling reminder.