by Jincy IypeSep 23, 2020
American rapper Kanye West, known for his music, entrepreneurship and fashion label, enjoys a secret passion for architecture. In 2018, he announced an initiative called Yeezy Home, an architecture arm to his design empire Yeezy, which would emerge as a low-income housing endeavour composed of prefabricated concrete modules. Recently, West shared on his Twitter account a new image of the prototype of his dome-shaped affordable housing for the homeless that is now under construction. Currently being developed on 300 acres of land in California, USA that West purchased a few years ago, the project has faced several hurdles. In 2019, some prototypes were demolished after the protest from the locals complaining West failed to secure permit for them.
The design of the Yeezy Home is known to have been inspired from a Star Wars movie referencing to the ruins of Tunisia. In the movie, it is depicted as a fictional desert planet of Tatooine, the home of Luke and Anakin Skywalker and appears in the Star Wars space opera franchise.
West is building the prototypes of igloo-like structures that are aimed to be economically sustainable prefabricated housing for the homeless people. The homes, he believes, will break the barriers between the rich, the middle class and the poor. The interior is created out of concrete framework with scaffolding and formwork currently being placed. The exterior is made of wooden frames. The images shared previously by West also showed the roof with an oculus or opening for the light to flow in, as there were no windows to the subterranean dome structures.
West, who also announced recently that he will run for the United States presidential elections in 2020 against Donald Trump, has always been interested in the role of design and architecture in the making of the world. Around 10 years ago, West had cited a lamp design by the famous modernist architect Le Corbusier that had been an inspiration for his hit single All of the Lights. In his intrigue to understand and be a part of architecture and design discourse, West visited the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) and Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) in 2013 to explore the academic depths architecture has to offer.
I really do believe that the world can be saved through design… I believe that utopia is actually possible. – Kanye West
In 2012, West established a design company called DONDA, named after his late mother, which in his own words would “galvanize amazing thinkers in a creative space to bounce their dreams and ideas" with the "goal to make products and experiences that people want and can afford”.
West has also been associated with architects such as OMA founder Rem Koolhaas, with whom he collaborated for various projects including a pavilion for the 2012 Cannes Film Festival among others. He also gave a short interview as a part of the film REM that was directed by Tomas Koolhaas. In the film, West elaborated on his desire to collaborate with firms like OMA in hopes of developing quality architecture.
West had hired interior designer Axel Vervoordt to re-design his Calabasas home, which he shares with his wife, Kim Kardashian West and has also worked with Los Angeles architect Willo Perron to design Yeezy's California headquarters in Calabasas, USA.