About a year ago, Kanye West tweeted something coherent that still surprised no one: "We’re starting a Yeezy architecture arm called Yeezy Home. We’re looking for architects and interior designers who want to make the world better."
The multidisciplinary rap mogul, whose income pie chart is largely composed of sneakers these days, is now taking an official step into prefabricated architecture for the homeless.
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West said he was inspired by the aesthetics of the planet of Tatooine, Luke Skywalker's desert home. Modeled after the sunken, cave-like dwellings of the Berbers of Matmata in the Tunisian desert, the prefabs will be insulated from both hot and cold climates.
Architects Jalil Peraza and Petra Kustin and 3D graphics artist Nejc Škufca designed the low-income housing. According to a Forbes feature highlighting West’s outsize empire, the structures will be "oblong and dozens of feet tall" with an austere, brutalist vibe; prefabricated concrete slabs will be used for construction.
After a string of well-publicized, outrageous incidents by West over the past decade—he stormed the stage at the MTV Video Music Awards to denounce Taylor Swift's win, and started a tweetnado after donning a MAGA hat, alienating a hefty portion of his fanbase—his remarks now have a kind of numbing effect.
"I’m going to be one of the biggest real estate developers of all time—what Howard Hughes was to air crafts and what Henry Ford was to cars…We gonna develop cities," said West, as he toured 300 acres of newly purchased land with entertainment personality Charlamagne Tha God.
Are West's plans to provide housing for the homeless just a thin veil for patterned megalomania? West’s own home, where he resides with wife Kim Kardashian-West and their four children, is finished in alabaster and Belgian plaster. The house is delicate and costly; a specialty team has to be flown in from Europe to repair the floors, if scuffed. Kim stepped well out of the way during the entirety of their home's design process.
If West’s shining virtues are meticulous attention to detail and unwavering follow-through—and if he's able to wrangle his god complex for the better good—the prefab development could prove to be an effective take on much-needed affordable housing.