Located near the mountains around Yanggu, in South Korea, Forest’s Quintet is a small residential ‘settlement’ shaped and structured by the owners’ dual desires to enjoy exclusive contact with nature and feel part of a community imbued with the same values. The complex was conceived to offer an alternative to urban dwelling and seems almost to embody and interpret various aspects and ideas that Frank Lloyd Wright used for his Broadacre City. As the antithesis of city living, Broadacre City offered a vision of society and a city built around single-family homes immersed in nature and surrounded by land (one acre per family) on which to grow one’s own produce. Forest’s Quintet was born of the dual need for contact with both nature and the community. This is the underlying idea for these five individual houses that combine to form an ideal refuge for their inhabitants. Hyunho Lee and James Wei Ke - Chiasmus Partners - were approached by this group of five families and close friends to develop a secluded refuge away from the rest of the world. The desire to be part of a group while also indulging one’s personal needs was the guiding principle behind the programme, and determines how each house fits into the context and the choice of materials, volumes and internal organisation. The five houses are in a semi-circle around a tree-filled central area bordered by the driveway to each house. The shared garden nestling between the five homes is shaded by tall pine trees that nonetheless allow open views and relations between the inhabitants of Forest’s Quintet. Above the villas, thick mountain forest protects and guards the small settlement. The architectural conception and arrangement draws from Eastern pavilions, especially Korean gardens. Envisaged as structures surrounded by nature, they are laid out to ensure each house has different views despite the proximity and to avoid any sense of crowding. No fences stand between the houses themselves or their surrounds. Only the natural slopes create some kind of imaginary limit to each house’s garden. Pathways and driveways are marked out by dry walls and small bushes - once again, natural materials denoting the division of social spaces. Each villa acquires meaning from the way it interacts with its surrounds, such as the mountains, forest, the other houses and the physical and social spaces that join the structures, influencing volumes, shapes and internal arrangements. Although each house has its own layout and identity, the volumes, shape and arrangement of both interior and exterior, as well as the materials are all defined by the relationships with the three elements noted above: nature, community and intimacy. Following the tenets of traditional pavilions, each building is completely open to nature. These villas are not merely objects placed in nature, but structures designed to allow light, air and views to flow through them. Large windows and sizeable outdoor spaces increase the contact area between inside and outside, just like the complex use of volumes in relation to the natural slopes ensures each room is in contact with the earth. Words like extroversion, transparency and openness to nature and the landscape sum up a complex where there are no barriers between inside and outside. The terraces formed by the spatial layout across different levels provide areas for exchange and visual connection between the inhabitants and a privileged position for viewing the landscape. Transparency and convexity open the structures to the outside, while the concave, protected spaces allow introversion and intimacy. Every house, with some variations and exceptions, has a hidden, closed space removed from the gaze of others, a secret and private area. The use of materials further strengthens the connections between the houses. Externally, walls and terraces are in very resistant red wood that will naturally weather to a greyish hue. Inside, the materials and colours are simple and combined according to the individual requests of the owners. Warm brown wood blends with bright white walls and grey windows and doors; views of the landscape define the rest of the interior. During the design stage, each family provided significant input and suggestions to help define their ideal living space. At the end, both the designers and the owners were completely satisfied, with a tailor-made home for each of them. Forest’s Quintet interprets and embodies two needs that have always characterised and guided human settlements: sharing and belonging to a community, while allowing individuality within the collectivity. The differing shapes and volumes encourage intimacy, while nature, the shared choice, welcomes all.