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Kanye West investing in Star Wars-themed low-income housing

Working on prototypes for prefab affordable housing

Now that he’s got the sneaker market thoroughly cornered, Kanye West is apparently moving on to his next project: affordable housing.

A recent profile of the rapper-turned-designer revealed that West is working on designing prefabricated, low-income housing with a Star War’s aesthetic, shopping the idea to investors as a potential housing solution for the homeless.

In the profile, Forbes writer Zack O'Malley Greenburg describes a late-night Lamborghini ride with West to “a bungalow in the woods” where four of West’s team were working late on a proposal for the housing project to show San Francisco investors the next morning.

Greenburg said West showed him the prototypes, which he described as “a trio of structures that look like the skeletons of wooden spaceships,” noting that the large-scale representations were each oblong and dozens of feet tall.

“He tells me they could be used as living spaces for the homeless, perhaps sunk into the ground with light filtering in through the top,” Greenberg writes. We stand there in silence for several minutes considering the structures before walking back down to his lurking Lamborghini and zooming off into the night.”

The article fails to provide any other details about the project.

But, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard about West’s interest in designing prefab affordable housing.

Last year, West launched an architecture Studio called Yeezy Home, and his co-collaborator shared renderings of a low-income housing scheme the team was apparently working on. The style reflects the same austere, white-washed minimalism that West seems to prefer.

In the Forbes profile, Greenberg comments on West’s home with wife Kim Kardashian, taking note of the “unadorned alabaster walls” and describing nearly every surface as being “a monastic shade of white.”

While it remains to be seen how West’s extreme aesthetic can be translated into effective housing for low-income Americans, it is perhaps a worthy project for someone with the millions of dollars and influence necessary to make real headway toward solving the country’s affordable housing crisis.

As Slate magazine aptly put it:

“While West’s investment in low-income housing is admirable, his well-documented dedication to spectacle over substance raises some serious questions. Is Kanye West really interested in helping the homeless or is the project, like the Death Star, another monument to vanity? Could this be his way of telling Disney that he’s still angling for a cameo in one of the upcoming movies? Wealth is an enormously powerful force, and West has the chance to use it – hopefully for good.”



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