Kanye West at Harvard

Kanye thinks everything needs to be ‘architected’

The rap star tells Harvard Graduate School of Design students that Peter Saville "wants me to do a YSL”

What is it about architecture that attracts people from the entertainment industry? Brad Pitt is the poster-boy for reviving the housing stock of hurricane-torn New Orleans, and now rapper Kanye West is hanging out with Harvard’s architecture undergraduates. 

“I really do believe that the world can be saved through design, and everything needs to actually be ‘architected’,” he told a group of students at Harvard Graduate School of Design last week.

He clearly has some understanding of the hoops would-be architects jump through to become professionals. “I appreciate you guys’ willingness to learn and hone your craft,” he said.


OMA's temporary Cannes film pavilion, built for Kanye West
OMA's temporary Cannes film pavilion, built for Kanye West

And while he may not be a trained designer or architect himself, he’s been surrounding himself with creatives. OMA built a pyramid-shaped cinema to screen West’s first short film at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, and the legendary Peter Saville is designing a new identity. Saville said the star “wants me to do a YSL”.

What’s more, he has his own design company, named DONDA. “Some of the first Donda employees were architects who started designing T-shirts instead of buildings,” West told his Harvard audience.

If West is serious about turning architect, and ‘architecting’ things himself, it will be a long haul: he’ll need a bachelor’s degree, more than 5,000 hours of interning, and then a pass on all those architecture licensure exams. Hardly the workload for a self-described college drop-out. Still, we're pleased to see him take an interest in archiecture, and wish him well.

To find out more about this, go here. For greater insight into one of Kanye's favourite architects, take a look at our Le Corbusier titles, including our magisterial Le Corbuser Le Grand and our William J R Curtis study, Le Corbusier: Ideas and Forms. Buy them from the people who made them, here.