"The world can be saved through
design" says Kanye West

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Kanye West at Harvard Graduate School of Design

News: rapper Kanye West has continued his architectural manifesto by telling students at Harvard University that "everything needs to actually be architected".

West and fiancé Kim Kardashian made a surprise visit to the Harvard Graduate School of Design studios on Sunday, where the rapper jumped on a desk in the studios and addressed students about his passion for architecture and his design company DONDA.

"I really do believe that the world can be saved through design, and everything needs to actually be architected," said West. "And this is the reason why even some of the first DONDA employees were architects that started designing T-shirts instead of buildings. But just to see the work be actualised."

Kanye West at Harvard Graduate School of Design
Kanye West at Harvard Graduate School of Design, photo by Kim Kardashian. Main image by Justin Gallagher

"I believe that utopia is actually possible," he continued, blaming leaders and politicians for the fact that it hasn't been achieved yet. He offered words of encouragement to students and praised their "willingness to learn and hone [their] craft". He also presented them with 300 tickets to the Boston leg of his Yeezus world tour.

This appearance comes after the rapper told presenter Zane Lowe that he is "working with five architects at a time" during an interview on BBC Radio 1 in September. West is currently collaborating with graphic designer Peter Saville to create a new visual identity for the rapper's brand.

Architecture blog Archinect published a full transcript of the rapper's speech at Harvard:


Kanye West: ...So after walking through here I decided that I wanted to make sure for anyone that didn't have tickets tonight that you all could have tickets to the show. So anybody who wants to come tonight, you can have tickets for the entire office!

But I just wanted to tell you guys, I really do believe that the world can be saved through design, and everything needs to actually be "architected". And this is the reason why even some of the first DONDA employees were architects that started designing t-shirts instead of buildings. But just to see the work be actualised.

If I sit down and talk to Oprah for two hours, the conversation is about realisation, self realisation and actually seeing your creativity happen in front of you. So the reason why I turn up so much in interviews is because I've tasted what it means to create and be able to impact, and affect in a positive way.

And I know that there's more creativity to happen. And I know that there's traditionalists that hold back the good thoughts and there's people in offices that stop the creative people, and [who] are intimidated by actual good ideas.

I believe that utopia is actually possible, but we're led by the least noble, the least dignified, the least tasteful, the dumbest and the most political. So in no way am I a politician, I'm usually at my best politically incorrect and very direct. I really appreciate you guys' willingness to learn and hone your craft, and not be lazy about creation.

I'm very inspired to be in this space. Tonight, this show, if you come see it - um, I'm a bit self conscious because I'm showing it to architects. So the stage does have flaws in it. It's an expression of emotion so give me a pass on that. And that's basically all I have to say so thank you very much.

  • Adrian

    What a nice man.

  • Tired

    There is no escaping this arrogant man and his wife! This guy is everywhere! He should be architected out of the spotlight. Do you think an architect or designer can just walk in into a recording studios and start lecturing the professionals producing music? Stop idolising fame hungry, conceited, ignorant people!

  • jaxe

    The only thing that needs to be “architected” is him.

  • Noah

    I was skeptical when I heard about Kanye speaking at the GSD, even a bit incredulous, but what he said was actually pretty cool. Sure, he invented a word, whatever. He’s a well recognised icon espousing the merits of cultivating an audacious design culture. That’s a really good thing. He’s asking the general public to appreciate our work. That’s awesome. Yes, he’s a prima donna. Yes, the Kardashians are ridiculous. Whatever, it’s all the flavour of the month and is of little consequence.

    If he is able to open a couple people’s minds and to inspire both clients and designers to take risks and to expand the field, it’s really good news for us. Lord knows the AIA is never going to give the field publicity like this, they’re waaayy out of touch.

  • Dan

    LOL ah yes, granted many will buy crap. More just want to point out that high album sells doesn’t have to mean poor music :) The very best sellers usually are very good.

  • Sebastián Corral

    So when I want to know about the relevance of architecture in the future I have to ask a rapper Kanye West?

    I bet he must have the most significant discussions of architecture with Kim Kards… Oh, I can’t even type it. Excuse me, I need to throw up.

  • KayneTheBest

    Who gives a sh*t about Kayne anyway.