1975-77 THE VINEY HOUSE / MICHAEL VINEY

During my research for the book I came across, and fell in love with, the work of Tasmanian architect Michael Viney. In the words of Gerard Reinmuth, an advocate of the work his mentor, Viney, ‘ fused a commitment to Corbusian modernism with Japanese spatial techniques, geomancy and a particular reading of the Tasmanian landscapes, resulting in a suite of exemplary works anchored in his heightened spatial intelligence’. Pictured here is the ‘Viney House’ (1975-77) which he designed for his family on a Hobart hillside and is now placed on the Australian Institute of Architects register of Nationally Significant Twentieth Century Architecture. Viney studied sculpture with Peter Taylor and the sculptural qualities are very evident in the work. The façade of the Viney House sees the influence of American architects such as Richard Meier but remains site specific with the landscape acting as a guiding principle.

Access to the house is via a raised walkway.

The spare furnishings in the interior space concentrate the mind on the landscape beyond and Viney was highly tuned to the relationship between the two. “Architecture is created from the inside out – from space to form, they are integral to, and inform each other to resolution’.

The Viney House appeared as a hero feature in Architecture Australia magazine at a time when it was hard for Tasmanian architects to get national coverage of their work. RMIT Professor Richard Blythe notes, ‘Viney’s work stands out because of his ability to take a cosmopolitan view, to be concerned with the particularity of place, of the relation between a subject and the landscape beyond the immediate site while resisting the sentimentality of a regionalist approach’. Shown here is the glazed southern wall facing the surrounding bush.

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