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Houses That Sugar Built: An Intimate Portrayal of Philippine Ancestral Homes

Houses That Sugar Built: An Intimate Portrayal of Philippine Ancestral Homes

Gina Consing McAdam, Siobhan Doran

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Houses that Sugar Built explores the largely unknown architectural legacy to be found in the ancestral houses of Iloilo, Negros Occidental and Pampanga – the three main sugar-producing provinces of the Philippines. These grand residences have yet to receive international exposure.

Nonetheless, they are important in two ways. Firstly, although easily classifiable in terms of architectural style, upon experiencing the buildings themselves there are almost always layers of additional influence. Secondly, this assured blending of styles reveals what we might call a ‘Critical Ambition’ – a desire on the part of the patrons who commissioned these residences to participate in an international architectural culture. Their relatively overlooked location did not stop the sugar barons responsible for these houses from undertaking a 20th-century form of the Grand Tour of European capitals, returning with a desire to bring the latest trends from Paris or Vienna to the provincial Philippines, or from partaking of the latest streamlined Moderne style from the US.

Beautifully photographed with over 200 pages of interiors that have rarely been seen by the public, Houses that Sugar Built is layered with intimate stories and individual house texts that transport us back to a time when these residences were in their heyday.

Published in 2023 by ORO Editions

256 pages

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