The Insula residence is a six-storey, 107-unit apartment complex located in the Brussels North Station district on 5-13 rue Simons. This 130-m long ship-like structure was the brainchild of MDW Architecture, in partnership with Thomas & Piron. The design of the building impresses with its sleekness and contemporary elegance, and the surprise of actually being two buildings in one. From the outside, its contemporary appearance blends in seamlessly with the rest of the business district while on the inside, bright colours and wooden accents add warmth and coziness to the atmosphere. On the front façade, a semi-transparent skin provides protection from the sun and is cut out at each balcony. On the back side, the windows provide the ideal solution to the seemingly impossible problem of balancing privacy with the unobstructed flow of light.
The building was designed by MDW Architecture.
"Designed for low- to mid-income tenants, we opted for a purely functional 130-m long modular layout due to financial constraints, but added interest and impact to the ensemble by putting in red, wooden terraces on the front façade. During the spring and summer months, the terraces can be used as an extra room, adding inches and individuality to the living space. The rear of the complex features a series of private gardens for the use of the ground floor tenants and the enjoyment of all upper level occupants.
Since the Insula residence is specifically targeted at the low- to mid-income market, we decided at an early stage to provide "non-high tech" equipment in order to minimise repair and refurbishment costs in the long run. With 12 cm thick thermal insulation, Insula has achieved a K40 rating. In the interest of privacy for the ground floor occupants, the ground level was raised by 60 cm. This resulted in less excavation work for the garages, saving money and reducing waste production in the process". (Marie Moignot, MDW Architecture)