High-end living with the natural environment from 10 DESIGN, Gordon Affleck

August 19, 2014

Dubai, UAE 10 DESIGN CREATES TREE CANOPY LIVING: Ashjar at Al Barari in Dubai


After the commercial success of Seventh Heaven at Al Barari (the second phase of the development), 10 DESIGN has been commissioned again to lead the subsequent phase of the development, Ashjar.

The word, Ashjar, means “trees” in Arabic. Al Barari’s imputes for the development is to cultivate “a unique vision of high-end living in harmony with the natural environment,” providing lush green environs to its residents.

Gordon Affleck – Design Partner at 10 DESIGN explains, “The idea of “tree living” has given us the inspiration to envisage apartments with three different characters of usual amenity: ‘at the forest floor’, ‘within the tree canopy’, and ‘above the forest canopy’. With over 80% of the site dedicated to landscape, these apartments will merge seamlessly into their surroundings from day one.”

Chris Jones – Partner at 10 DESIGN says, “Al Barari development offers a different living experience and Ashjar exemplifies this. Within the first two days of sales in April 2014, 70% of the development was sold out.”


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 utilises operable screens to open or close external terrace and living areas opening up to the vista or creating a more quiet secluded internal/external sanctuary. The terraced typology affords a more exclusive experience for the larger units with entry via a naturally 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 maximised 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 is 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 natural breeze to encourage outdoor activities.

Each building entrance is addressed by a colourful meadow glade that provides 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 connects 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 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 modelling 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 optimised systems aims to reduce the carbon footprint of the development further.





Seventh Heaven is the second phase of the high end residential development at Al Barari, which is also conceived by 10 DESIGN. The 100,000 sqm project will encapsulate the vision of the client to create a unique community set within a truly remarkable natural environment unparalleled in the region for its diversity of planting and landscaping.

98% of the apartments were sold out in the first 48 hours of the launch in February 2014.



Dubai, UAE


Al Barari Firm Management

Architectural Design Team:

Gordon Affleck, Jamie Webb, George Aguirre,

Nick Benner, Alexey Golbraykh, Yao Ma,

Shirley Tsang, Kevis Wong, Yao Yap, Warith Zaki

Sustainable Design:

Sean Quinn

Landscape Design Team:

Kan Srisawat, Carol Hui, Matthew Younger,

Michelie Tonido, Shingrong Wu

CGI Team: Jon Martin, Yasser Solomon, Laura Simonsen, David Guardado

Media Enquiries

Catherine Chan, Associate Partner – Marketing


T: +852 3975 2007


Master planning






Site Area: 107,812 sqm

GFA: 80,907 sqm

Villa Type A: 39,059 sqm

Villa Type B: 17,009 sqm

Villa Type C: 24,535 sqm

Space types:



Conceptual design in progress






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