VIRTUe proudly presents to you LINQ, a house that connects. It combines the principles of smart technology, social neighbourhoods and sustainable ecosystems as the solution for environmental problems caused by urban areas.


LINQ is designed as a complete apartment complex. This was not just on a whim, the benefits of an apartment complex instead of single housing are beyond counting.


Making up over 90% of the population, the target group of LINQ is expats in Dubai. Expats are often couples or couples with children, and usually return to their home country after several years of living and working in Dubai. Taking the current situation, the concept of LINQ and the target group into consideration, the idea to combine multiple houses into one apartment complex with shared spaces was intriguing.

The advantages of an apartment complex are many, for example less loss of energy and water, more effective cooling, and a low social threshold to get to know your neighbours better.

LINQ urban concept



people to people


people to technology


technology to technology


Phase 1

The design process of the phase 4 apartment complex consists out of 4 phases. The first phase starts with a simple square plan, divided into 4 equal plots in which apartments can be placed. The height of the building is determined to fit its surroundings. The roof and south wall are tilted +-15 degrees to maximise the efficiency of the solar panels and minimise the solar gain on the south façade.

Phase 2

Open, green areas are created within the building. These areas have as purpose to connect different levels, to bring green into the building and to create open shared spaces. The green areas have an organic shape and are located next to the façades so natural light can enter. These green areas are connected to each other by an atrium.

Phase 3

Vertical connections are made. The rising points for the users mainly consist out of stairs in the atrium, but also an elevator on the east side of the building. Besides this, different cores are placed in the apartments. These cores support the stability of the construction and create an easy infrastructure in the building for water and electricity transportation.

Phase 4

Small apartments are placed in the different plots. The apartments differ from 50 to 60 square meters. The apartments follow the shape
of the green spaces. Between the apartments and the atrium is a buffer zone. Smaller plots are left open and on several of these plots closed shared functions are placed. These shared functions include for example a kitchen, laundry room and entertainment room.


The Solar Decathlon Middle East is a competition to build a house, not an apartment building. This is why we will take one apartment out of the building, and that is what we will actually build. Next to the realised apartment the section of the neighbouring apartment will be visible to show that LINQ is part of a bigger picture. Small additions are made to comply with the public tour of the Solar Decathlon. These will be easily recognisable as separate elements. The additional elements are also used to for extra energy production.

Stable core

The cores play a vital role in the apartment complex, stabilising the building and connecting the apartments to one another, transporting electricity and water. During the Solar Decathlon this core is load bearing, which signifi cantly speeds up the building process and increases building comfort.


Both the south wall and the roof are tilted to provide shade on the south wall, which is vital for reducing solar gain and optimising the angle of the thin film photovoltaic panels towards the sun. In additions, it gives the apartment a strong architectural expression.

Lifted apartment

The apartment is lifted with the use of a stabilising structure, giving it the impression that it hovers above the ground. Detaching it, and thus hinting the visitor that this apartment is actually located on the top floor.

Shared space

This outside area will demonstrate the green atrium and the use of shared spaces. Oriented towards the central square of the Solar Decathlon, this area will be most vivid and visitors can use it to meet each other and share their ideas about a sustainable future.

Net zero water system

LINQ has a resource recovery machine that harvests nutrient fertilisers, renewable energy and clean water from grey water, black water and food waste. It is achieved by state-of-the-art anaerobic membrane bioreactor (AnMBR) technology.

Double curved wall

The north wall of the apartment is double curved. It is a 3D printed concrete wall that provides both space and nutrients to the vegetation inside the wall.

Trias energetica

In order to keep our project as sustainable as possible, we have adopted the trias energetica as our leading strategy: First, we will try to minimise the demand for energy, for example by using passive strategies. Then, the energy we do use, should be sustainable, hence we use solar energy. Finally, if there is an energy demand that is absolutely necessary, but cannot be satisfi ed with renewable energy, non-renewable sources shall be used as cleanly and efficiently as possible.


On the west side the parking area is visible, normally located in the garage, this area gives the opportunity to show the world the future of mobility and houses working together.


The elements that are needed to make the apartment accessible during the SDME are created with luminescent solar concentrator panels, or LSC panels. The transparent panels refract specific colors in the spectrum of sunlight in such a way that the light reaches the sides. Here, the light is converted into energy by solar cells embedded in the panel frame.

Window-to-wall ratio

Because of the tilted wall, this wall is better visible in this plan view. Due to the shade created by the tilt of the wall, it is possible to have a larger window-to-wall ratio.

City farming

To give an impression of the shared spaces we will convert a section of the partially built apartment, on the east side of the plot, into a shared space for city farming.

To connect people and technology in order to create a better future. This is what LINQ will achieve at the Solar Decathlon Middle East 2018.