Welcome to West Lake Ranch, the 4,000-acre spread containing two entire lakes that offer incredible trout fishing, millions worth of vehicles, caves with pictographs left by indigenous tribespeople, and thousands of wild animals.
We mean Thousands, like, at least 700 sheep. The guy we commissioned to count keeps passing out around 690 though, so we still don't know exactly.
West hasn't done much to the property since purchasing it last (red) October. There are still sleeping cabins clustered along the main drive, two big barns, the eating cabin West has turned into a bare-bones studio, in the middle of which exists a white board that says "Yeezy Business Development," and, out across the way, a few un-winterized camp outposts.
Other than changing the name from Monster Lake Ranch, the only things marking Kanye’s new ownership are the vehicles. There's an army of matte black Raptors, a double-digit fleet of matte black SHERP ATVs, a handful of... wait for it... matte black UTVs, and, of course, the tank.
Did we mention the tank's paint job?
Then there's the big dig. GQ's head editor, Will Welch, took a tour in one of the Raptors and described it like this:
"At the foot of West Lake Ranch’s grandest feature—a dramatic cliffscape that looks like it was created when one massive plate of earth crashed spectacularly up against another in some unknowable prehistoric era—is a tremendous excavation of terrain about the size of a sports arena. It is the ultimate spot for Kanye West to mark a big X and start digging. The next morning, while shooting pictures, we will climb up the back side of the cliff. “When we went up on the moon rocks and looked down,” Kanye says later, “you saw something the size of a spaceship.” Clearly this is not Wyoming ranch business as usual. This is the first sign that the strange future of this otherwise unassuming tract of land is already under way."
It's always kind of seemed like Kanye West knows something we don't. With the militarization and futurization of this plot of land, in Wyoming, far away from big cities and coastlines, it makes you wonder.
Through the course of Welch's tour with West, he went all over the place over the course of five weeks. In that time, from private jet, truck, to lobby, there were always architects within earshot of West.
The project they're working on is evolving like a living thing, and is meant as a revolutionary worksite. As West continues with this next stage of his life, of choir-rap albums, Paris fashion week, and harvesting his own wool for his clothing line, the goal morphs but remains the same at its core. They are developing a Yeezy campus-- an attempted shift in the paradigm-- and it's coming together impressively.
West and his team of architects is working with a team of alleged superstar designers. James Turrell (Tyrell? Blade Runner??) is a light and space artist that partially inspired this project, Alex Vervoordt is an interior design wizard, and Claudio Silvestrin is an actual architect.
When West refers to architects, he means designers and creators of all kinds-- the architects of the future. They are working towards a constantly morphing design of dome shaped, pod-like rooms, in an attempt to establish a style, modulate it, and bring it to new markets like New York and Calabasas.
It seems like West would like to establish the architectural style of the coming era. The goal is to find a way to mass produce this style of home, the way he does with his clothing lines, make it sustainable, and sell them.
Zach Walters, one of the teams many architects, says these domes are the second version of this project. The first was tested with plywood on a 300-acre plot in Calabasas.
"We had dinner in there every day for one or two months... We changed [the plans] every single day. We built a waterfall shower, put moss on the floor, just tried everything to refine that language," says Walters.
One of the coolest features of this massive dome getting built in Wyoming? It's something West and his team established a long time ago. The whole thing is skate-able, as in skateboarding. "That was the original brief for this house. "[We have to make it] completely skateable"" West said in an interview, as his team nodded behind him.
The whole dome is an effort to reimagine the way we operate in interior spaces. It focuses on one of the most important pieces of our lives: light. All we see is light reflected back to us. How that happens-- what kind of light, from what angle, how much of it-- changes the entire energy of how we receive it.
When one of the main members of the Yeezy team is a light artist, it's clear that West recognizes and utilizes this fact to create these new environments. A more all-encompassing approach to design that's focused on the entire environment, which, after all, is what all art aims to grow into; an immersive experience on every level.
We're excited to see where West takes this, and we have high hopes for it's future, as well as how it might inspire others to take similar steps if they aren't already. Check back here for updates on "The Big Dig," Kanye's real estate portfolio, and, as always, to contact us for all of your real estate needs.