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Name Insula
Address Rue Simons 5-13
1000 Brussels
Size 5,000
Type Residential
Status In partnership withThomas & Piron



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.​

Location & Accessibility

Issues At Stake

Key Elements

  • 107 units: studios, two- and three-bedroom apartments, and three-bedroom penthouses on sixfloors
  • Two commercial spaceson the ground floor (+/-100m² each)
  • Balcony or terrace and garden for the ground floor apartments
  • 93 secure underground parking spaces and cellars
  • Four separateentrance halls, each with their own lift
  • "High security" doors for all units
  • Video intercom system with electric door opener
  • Effective acoustic and thermal insulation
  • Ample southern exposure
  • Dark grey cladding in punched ribbed steel
  • Complete sanitary facilities
  • Ground and wall tiles
  • Parquet floors (optional) ​


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)​

Shared Experience