College alumna honoured with innovative study wing

May 15 / 157

Janet Clarke Hall alumna Dr Margaret Henderson witnesses the construction of Henderson House. Back row from left: Fiona Cadorel (Vice-Principal, College Students), Barry O’Connor (Architect), Professor Doreen Rosenthal AO (College Council member) and Jennifer Ross (College Council member).
Janet Clarke Hall alumna Dr Margaret Henderson witnesses the construction of Henderson House. Back row from left: Fiona Cadorel (Vice-Principal, College Students), Barry O’Connor (Architect), Professor Doreen Rosenthal AO (College Council member) and Jennifer Ross (College Council member).

 

A new study wing at Janet Clarke Hall honours the contribution of a treasured alumna and introduces an innovative new building method to the University of Melbourne.

 

Henderson House is named after Melbourne Medical School and Janet Clarke Hall alumna Dr Margaret Henderson OBE, who has retained a strong relationship with the college since her residency there in the late 1930s.

 

The new wing is a teaching and activity space – constructed by Melbourne company Modscape – comprising six study and tuition rooms. It is believed to be the first building on the Parkville campus constructed entirely off-site, requiring a mere six-hours to attach to the existing student residence at Janet Clarke Hall on Wednesday 8 April.

 

Architect Barry O’Connor designed and oversaw the project, which was procured by a modular construction technique. Alongside heritage and services infrastructure concerns that took many months to resolve, he said numerous site issues made modular construction the preferred building method.

 

Mr O’Connor said the modular construction overcame difficult time and space limitations.

 

“The reasons for choosing modular construction were the tightness of the existing site, the limitations that consequently placed on access for tradesmen, and the need to minimise the privacy disruptions for resident students and tutors.”

 

Dr Henderson – who turns 100 in November – was present as the modules were placed into position. She said the building’s naming was a great honour, and expressed her pride that the University and the colleges were using a cutting-edge construction technique.

 

“It’s fantastic to see that an institution as venerable as the University of Melbourne is so willing to undertake innovative new projects such as this one,” she said.

 

“I am particularly humbled to have the new teaching and learning centre named after myself.”

 

Dr Damian Powell, Principal at Janet Clarke Hall, paid tribute to Dr Henderson’s many decades of financial and volunteer support.

 

“We are delighted to name this much-needed study and teaching space in Dr Henderson’s honour, and it was very special to have Dr Henderson share the experience of the ‘dropping in and topping out’ construction process,” he said.

 

“This is a space that will benefit Janet Clarke Hall students today and for generations to come.”

 

A formal opening for Henderson House is expected later this year, once the tutorial spaces have been fully furnished.

 

Donations towards the colleges and the University’s learning spaces form part of Believe – the Campaign for the University of Melbourne, which aims to raise $500 million for the University by the end of 2017.

Story by Chris Weaver

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