The Island Oasis

LocationAustinBuilt2021ClientNeighborSpace, 1100 S Mason Block Club

“This garden—from its small beginnings to its current transformation—shows the power of neighbors working together for the good of the community, and the possibilities that can only happen through collaboration.”

– Nate Tubbs, 1100 S Mason Block Club


In the spring of 2018, residents of the Island neighborhood began working on beautifying the vacant lot of 1114 S Mason Ave. After various community cleaning days with students and parents from G.R Clark Elementary School, the neighbors began activating the space by hosting block club meetings, movie nights, CAPS meetings, and holiday celebrations. In 2021, we began working with the 1100 S Mason Block Club, Neighbor Space, Common Worlds Playscapes, and residents of the wider Island neighborhood to masterplan and build spaces that can host their programming.


  • Create gathering spaces for various programs and different size groups
  • Connect to the West Side Nature Play Network by building a nature play garden
  • Expand on the beautification efforts from the community to create an oasis for groups of different ages and abilities


The neighborhood is known as The Island because of its isolated location at the intersection of the 290 expressway, the Village of Oak Park, the Town of Cicero, and the Chicago neighborhood of Austin. The community is further isolated by its lack of amenities such as green areas and outdoor gathering spaces. These findings made it clear that the neighborhood needs a multifunctional space that will bring people of all ages and abilities together.






  • Nature play soil mound with log steppers, a wood hut, climbing wall and bridge
  • Bonfire with wood logs as seating
  • Boulders for seating
  • Storage shed with an outdoor classroom and stage
  • Projector screens and colorful plexiglass roof on the stage
  • Mixed seating with tables and planter beds
  • Wood and iron fence
  • Entry signage
  • Brick patio for various programming
  • Landscaping throughout

In partnership with