Tatooine Vernacular

Kanye West is designing Star Wars–themed affordable housing

Buildings in Tunisia that were used as a set for Tatooine in the first Star Wars. Unfortunately, this isn't exactly what Kanye wants to build. (yovanson/Wikimedia Commons)

Not content with a sneaker empire, Kanye West has entered the affordable housing game with structures straight out of Star Wars.

In a profile of the rapper-producer, designer, and business mogul, Forbes writer Zack O’Malley Greenburg described how West drove him to a wooded area near his home in Calabasas, California, to show him prototypes for igloo-like modular housing units that the author compared to what was found on Tatooine, Star Wars protagonist Luke Skywalker’s home planet. While West didn’t provide images of the top-secret structures, in the original Star Wars, Tatooine is a desert planet populated by humans and other settlers who live in groups of adobe huts with rounded roofs. In actuality, the movie was shot in the deserts of Tunisia, where George Lucas took inspiration from the country’s vernacular architecture to build the structures and vehicles of Tatooine.

West’s minimalist concept models—there were three of them in the woods—will we deployed as low-income housing if the project moves forward. According to the article, West is hoping to lure deep-pocketed investors from San Francisco to bankroll construction but hasn’t managed to land any yet.

According to Greenburg, the homes resemble “the skeletons of wooden spaceships … each oblong and dozens of feet tall.” West said they could be dwelled in at-grade or submerged in the earth and daylit from up top.

This isn’t West’s first foray into architecture or affordable housing design, and marks a notable departure from what he’s shown in the past. Last year, he founded his own architecture studio, Yeezy Home (Yeezy is West’s pseudonym), and soon after West and four collaborators revealed renderings of concrete-paneled affordable housing around a courtyard. The stark interiors are similar to the ones in the celebrity’s own California home, designed in collaboration with Axel Vervoordt.

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