OASIS

Benjamin Marks in collaboration with Matt Atkins

Winner of the inaugural RIBA Journal MacEwan Award, 2016

Winner of a Civic Trust Award Community Recognition, 2013

Oasis Children’s Venture has provided inclusive play facilities and education opportunities for young people since 1973. Oasis operates in Stockwell, an area rich in cultural diversity but plagued by high levels of deprivation. By offering diverse play projects to children from the age of 5 to 19, Oasis establishes long-term connections with young people, and can have a powerful positive impact on their later lives. In 2011, Oasis identified a clear need for a new building, but was unable to procure one via conventional means.

The Segal-Method former office of Coin Street Community Builders was scheduled for demolition when it was donated to Oasis to act as a new office and playspace. With the support of over 100 volunteers, it was dismantled into its constituent posts and beams, and moved from Waterloo to Stockwell. The simple constructional logic of its original design became the key to the material’s re-use, allowing it to be cleanly separated and used again in a completely new design reflecting the new site and brief. It also made possible the use of high proportion of unskilled labour in the construction.

The new building comprises a new playspace, office, kitchen, veranda, and ancillary functions. It is situated within the playground itself, on land owned by Oasis. The vast majority of the scheme is recycled, giving it a very low carbon footprint. The new building has enabled Oasis to employ more staff and expand the community programmes on offer. Oasis is also now able to supervise the playground more directly, which has lead to extended opening times,  whilst the playspace has enabled year round indoor activities to take place.