Shalimar Gardens in Lahore, Pakistan

Shalimar Gardens

Shalimar Gardens

Dubai South, United Arab Emirates

Map of Umm Al Quwain

Dubai South, United Arab Emirates

Project Facts

Project Shalimar Gardens
Client Shaikhani Group
Size 1 million sq. metres
Services Master Planning, Architectural design of Typical Townhouses and Apartments
Status Concept
Budget Undisclosed

Project Features

Residential 744 2/3-Bedroom 2-Story Townhouses (Types A & B), 176 3-Bedroom 2-Story Townhouses (Type C), 180 3-Bedroom Garden Apartments (Type D) and 180 2-Bedroom Terrace Apartments (Type E).
Commercial 2,000 sq. metres of Retail/ Commercial space.
4 Gyms and Swimming Pools, 1 Kindergarten, Primary and Secondary Schools, 1 Mosque, 1 Charbagh Garden, 16 Communal Gardens (Pocket Parks), Grand Boulevard with dedicated cycling and jogging lanes.

Located in Dubai South, the Shalimar Gardens residential community is aimed at the South-and Central Asian investors primarily. With a clear target demographic in mind, we understood that the development had to resonate with the potential residents, while fostering a healthy community. Looking to create this unspoken connection, we decided to adopt the Charbagh (four gardens) planning technique for the master plan of the proposed residential community. A Persian and Indo-Persian quadrilateral garden layout based on the four Gardens of Paradise mentioned in the Quran, Charbaghs were built by some of the most famous rulers and dynasties of this region, as they attempted to recreate the gardens of paradise on earth. 

In Isfahan Iran, the Chaharbagh-e-Abassi was built by Shah Abbas the Great in 1596, while in Delhi, India, the Charbaghs were designed and built at a monumental scale at the Emperor Humayun’s Tomb. Humayan’s father was the Central Asian Conqueror Babur who succeeded in laying the basis for the Mughal dynasty in the Indian Subcontinent. He became the first Mughal emperor and his tomb, positioned central to another Charbagh, Bagh-e Babur, in Kabul, Afghanistan gave birth to the design of ‘Mughal gardens’. The latter reached their peak during the reign of Babur’s great, grandson, the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan and displayed in their highest form at the Taj Mahal in Agra, and the Shalimar Gardens in Lahore, Pakistan. Their majestic and mystical energies have transcended over centuries, where even today, the rulers, their monuments and Charbaghs are highly admired and revered.

It, therefore, made perfect sense to infuse our master plan with this mystical energy and association through which we would elevate the development to a place where people would be proud to live and more than just another residential community in Dubai.

Historically, one of the hallmarks of Charbagh garden is the four-part garden laid out with axial paths that intersect at the garden’s centre. Similarly, in our master plan, we subdivide the site into 4 residentials zones by the axial paths which meet at edge of the central Charbagh Garden (public park), from where the same axis continues in pedestrian form, intersecting at its centre – the centre of the Garden and the overall site. Meanwhile, each of the 4 residential zones is again subdivided into 4 parts, offering a total 16 residential sub-zones, each centred around a communal garden in a nod to the Moghul Garden of the Taj Mahal, where each of the four parts contains sixteen flower beds.


Axial Paths

charbagh plan Islamic Gardens
Shalimar Gardens by RTAE modular Master plan

In a hierarchical organisation of the master plan, and control of vehicular movement within the site, one of the two main axial paths is given more importance than the other by defining it as the main commercial artery and the main vehicular entry and exit route of the site. The tree-lined Grand Boulevard allows traffic to flow into and through the site with speed mitigation measures of through traffic through the deviation from the central axis around the central Charbagh Garden. By placing all the commercial activity here, we limit the permeation of noise, smell and commercial (public and operational) traffic into the residential part of the site.

At the terminus of each axis at the site periphery we introduce community activities and facilities including a school, mosque, fitness centre etc. Thus, moving traffic and public activities away from the residential areas.

Townhouses and Townhomes

The Residential zone is restricted to G+1 storey buildings with a combination of 2 and 3-bedroom, 2 storey townhouses and 3-bedroom, single storey townhomes (apartments) stacked on top of each other to resemble two-storey townhouses. Each of the townhouses has a private garden and enclosed parking. The ground floor townhome enjoys a garden, while occupants of the upper townhomes benefit from a private roof terrace and controlled view of the garden below.  The townhouses are arranged in a manner to create quadrants, at the centre of which are communal garden accessed by all and connect to the tree-lined streets through covered pathways, making the entire development walkable.


Although the strict geometric planning inspired by the Charbagh concept, it further allows us to modularise the development due to the amount of repetition set up by the planning technique at a micro scale. Moreover, the entire development can be replicated in a modular manner at a macro level, whit the Grand boulevard linking future expansion seamlessly for all above and below ground infrastructure.

Future growth plan shows how the modular planning of the Shalimar Gardens by RTAE makes it easy to grow
Apartment and Villa types in the Shalimar Gardens development by RTAE

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With over 40 years of experience in project and construction management across the region, Al-Kayyalli has worked in senior-management level roles with some of the biggest real-estate development companies across the Gulf region.

Specialised in working on complete project lifecycle, Al-Kayyalli’s has wide-reaching experience in all stages of project development and delivery ranging from initial preliminary and feasibility studies, financial and time planning, costing and procurement, value engineering, construction supervision and management to commissioning and testing before final handover.

Before joining Rashid Taqui Architects and Engineers, Al Kayyalli was the CEO of the Saudi Qitaf al Ardah Development Real Estate Co. (Al Nahda & Al Omar Group) where he re-structured the company to fully develop in-house turnkey developments through the establishment of an in-house project management and procurement office.

Prior to which, he was the Vice President Project Management and Engineering of Al-Oula International-Amar International Real Estate where Al Kayyalli successfully implemented major investment programs for the firm’s operations in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, as turnkey solutions tailored to the findings of market analysis studies.

Earlier, Al-Kayyali was the Director of Development & Project Management for Al-Nahdi Group (KSA) and KCMCC(Kuwait Commercial Market Company), and Director/ Construction Manager for a number of key contracting firms including Al-Jafr Trading and Contracting Co. (KSA), Ali & Fouad Al-Ghanim Co. (Kuwait), Al-Habtoor Engineering (UAE), Al-Muhairy Contracting Co. (UAE) and Al-Hani Construction & Trading Bureau (Kuwait).


Born and educated in the United Kingdom, Rula Hannoun completed her undergraduate in anthropology at the University of Manchester in 1979 prior to completing her postgraduate MBA (Finance) at the Manchester School of Business in 1981.

Hannoun’s professional career began at the First National Bank of Chicago, Corporate Finance division before moving to Project Finance, Oil and Gas. As the Deputy Head of the Oil and Gas division for EMEA at 26, Hannoun became the youngest Vice President in the history of the bank.

After marrying and relocating to Dubai, Hannoun left the banking sector in 1985 to raise her family. She resumed her professional career in the mid-90s as Advisor to the Economic Department of Dubai, spearheading the establishment of Dubai Internet City – the second and one of the most successful free zones in Dubai.

With an inherent passion of architecture and design and a key eye for business, in 1999 Hannoun established the firm Tala Furniture, dedicated to providing quality furniture to the booming hospitality sector across the Gulf and North Africa. Nearly two decades later the company is recognised as one of the leading suppliers of complete hotel interior products, operates 3 factories in CEBU, China and Indonesia and boasts over 120 professional staff focused on project management, technical services, manufacturing, sourcing and quality control.

A member of the Young President’s Organisation (YPO) and an active fundraiser, Hannoun has dedicated much of her personal life to raising awareness for children with special needs. She was instrumental in the establishment of Asseef School (Dubai Centre for Special Needs) in the late 80s, the first special needs school in Dubai to receive funding from the late HH Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and remains equally diligent in her quest today, to protect the rights of the children without a voice.


With near 30 years of experience in the design, management and delivery of complex architectural projects, Rashid Taqui’s portfolio spans multiple sectors in Australia, Greece, Kenya, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, UK, and the UAE.

Taqui has a Master’s in International Architecture Studies from the University of Huddersfield (UK), and two theses to his credit: The UAE – Searching for a Lost Identity, and The National Museum in Al Ain, UAE.

Starting his career in 1996 as a fresh graduate at German firm Schuster Pechtold’s Dubai office, he won instant appreciation and international applause for conceptualising and designing the multi-award-winning Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa – the first eco-resort in the Middle East attributed to having changed the discourse of architecture in the UAE. His involvement in other ‘firsts’ for the region include the establishing a voice for the architects and designers by the launching Dubai’s premier and the regions’ leading architectural journal, Architecture Plus, shaping the annual architectural networking event, Cityscape and founding the international awards for architecture and design in the UAE.

Taqui’s broad-ranging experience covers urban planning projects, resorts and hotels, palatial residences, shopping malls, airports, schools, banks, offices and varied public and cultural facilities, and undertaken while holding senior positions in the UAE offices of German multi-disciplinary firm Kling Consult, civil engineering firm Italconsult SPA, and architectural firm Incorporated Consultants (Conin).

Rashid Taqui Architects and Engineers, established in 2008, is his personal brand that specialises in contextually authentic, eco-aware architecture. He ardently advocates integrity and sustainability while targeting high yields for stakeholders through innovative design, investment opportunities, and value engineering.

Taqui often speaks at public events and writes regularly for local publications. His interests include fitness, films, food, and travel.

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