Ashjar at Al Barari
Ashjar is located 10 minutes from the Burj Khalifa. The development comprises 300 high end 1,2 and 3-bedroom apartments set within 21 individual low-rise buildings each carefully woven into a lush forest landscape. Small clusters of these low rise buildings create intimate and private communities at one with nature. Dense planting, meandering streams, shared amenity and secluded gardens connect communities and allow controlled access to the wider master plan and amenities.
Within the Ashjar site, three primary block typologies are proposed creating a rich and diverse community. These range from the more extrovert and open, to the more introvert and screened to the larger exclusive terraced typology. In the extrovert typology, terraces and shading pergolas are woven to create a rich and vibrant façade self-shading external terraces and living areas. The introvert typology utilizes operable screens to open or close external terrace and living areas opening up to the vista or creating a quieter secluded internal/external sanctuary. The terraced typology affords a more exclusive experience for the larger units with entry via a natural daylight core. Each typology is afforded the same quality of space and daylight together with a high level of finishes.
Within each typology, the connection to nature and the landscape is central and is created via a series of expansive terraces and gardens. This connection to nature and landscape expands upon the highly successful previous phases of Al Barari.
Within the ‘introvert’ and ‘extrovert’ plan apartments are arranged around a central core with living/dining areas located with wider dual aspect views at the corners. Large expansive terraces combine with fully retractable glass façade to blur the boundaries between inside and out. These terraces frame views to the Dubai skyline at upper levels whilst lower level apartments are afforded larger garden and landscape experiences. Rooftops are maximized with larger terraces and duplex units creating opulent private gardens in the sky.
Within the larger terraced typologies apartments are arranged to either side of the core with living spaces opening up to the corner views. Private bedroom suites and terraces, living rooms and kitchen/dining spaces wrap around the core to provide 360-degree views. Smaller boutique garden apartments are located at the ground level interacting with, landscape, water, and planting. Larger units are placed at the upper levels stepping back to the exclusive penthouse units with multiple garden terraces.
Entrance to all blocks is via a sequence of landscaped pools and gardens. Direct access from a secured subterranean parking level and lobby are also provided. This subterranean parking is private to the individual community with guest parking and drop-off contained above grade. The ground floor units are raised up from the general ground level. This affords a degree of privacy and separation between garden units and semi-public areas and allows natural daylight and ventilation to the parking.
The idea of living within and amongst the tree canopy builds upon the highly successful landscape led developments at the Al Barari villas and Farm. A rich mix of plant species including wide variations of shrubs and mature trees form a naturalistic ‘forest floor’ that stretches over the 100,000 sqm development, creating a green, serene and tranquil living environment unique to Dubai. A variety of amenities including leisure paths, outdoor seating, recreation pools, lazy rivers, active lawn, and adventure play areas, take on fluid and organic forms that ‘bend’ through the forest floor, enriching the green forest layers within the heart of the residential clusters. While the amenity spaces occupy the base of the forest layers, the dense green and tree canopy not only defines and screens views but provides adequate shades and the natural breeze to encourage outdoor activities.
Each building entrance is addressed by a colorful meadow glade that provides a vibrant and smooth transition from indoor spaces to the outdoor gardens. Garden apartments at the base of the buildings extend into the landscape via a sequence of stepped gardens and terraces creating large secluded private spaces for residents.
Dense natural grove and meandering stream connect and defines each residential cluster. Small gardens and intimate retreats punctuate this landscape providing sanctuaries for families, couples and individuals alike. A continuous leisure path through the ‘grove’ and water edge landscape extends and connects to the existing Al Barari gym, the Seventh Heaven development and the proposed new ‘heart of Al Barari’s district.
Expanding on the principles carried out in Seventh Heaven, the master plan for Ashjar Living will create vibrant natural environments for the entire Al Barari development and for the 21 multi-family residential blocks. The aim of the integrated design team is to extend the comfortable period in Dubai, experienced during December through February, into spring and fall, passively cool the site at night, and lower the extreme temperatures experienced throughout the entire year.
While Dubai features a hot and humid climate with little precipitation, the ground water on site allows for denser vegetation and prolific flora and fauna. Trees provide shade while the setbacks between blocks allow a more porous site. As for midday off- shore breezes and evening winds from the desert cross the site, the ambient temperature drops allowing increased opportunity for active lifestyles.
The individual residential blocks have been shaped to limit most intense solar exposure experienced throughout the day. Each unit is oriented southerly, features strategic glazing to achieve optimal views and high thermal massing for 40% of the façade to improve efficiency. Shading strategies are deployed in a variety of ways, horizontal beams, and pergola which increase visibility; or sliding screens which create privacy and dynamic layers of transparency. In both cases, the design’s interior planning enables rich natural daylight surrounded by the landscape of Al Barari.
In order to ensure efficiency, conceptual energy modeling in early design stages has enabled measurement of the impact of massing, orientation, and articulation of the building. Examining passive architectural savings alone has demonstrated annual energy savings of 18-22% from the baseline case across the residential blocks. As the project evolves, integration of engineering and optimized systems aims to reduce the carbon footprint of the development further.
Architects: 10 DESIGN
Location: Dubai,United Arab Emirates
Client: Al Barari Firm Management
Area: G.F.A. 80,907 sqm ; site area 107,812 sqm
Service: architecture, master planning, landscape, sustainability, CGI
Award: 2014 Cityscape Awards – Residential Future Project
Type: Residential, Retail, Mixed Use