2016’s best music videos for architecture lovers

Big tunes meet bigger landmarks

Music videos took us inside some truly exceptional spaces this year, from private Modernist retreats to space age landmarks in the desert. Here are 10 of our favourites – a rundown of the best music videos synching architecture and sound.

1. Braids – ‘Companion’

Marmol Radziner’s prefab Desert House sets the scene for Canadian band Braid’s ethereal track ‘Companion’, as lead singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston wanders through its room – followed by herself. Built in 2005, the Desert House hovers 2 ft above the arid landscape, providing views of the San Jacinto peak and surrounding mountains.

2. Julianna Barwick – ‘Nebula’

Ambient artist Julianna Barwick’s moody music video ‘Nebula’ cast a haunting glow over Philip Johnson’s seminal landmark, Glass House. Built in 1949 as his own home, the Connecticut structure set a new benchmark for Minimalist architecture.

3. Jamie XX – ‘Gosh’

It looks like Paris, but don’t be fooled. Romain Gavras directed the awe-inspiring video for ‘Gosh’, which was filmed 6,000 miles away in Tianducheng. The ghost town sits on the outskirts of Hangzhou and was designed to be an exact replica of the French capital.

4. Solange – ‘Cranes in the Sky’

Solange’s ‘Cranes in the sky’ video had an unexpected four-legged star – Robert Bruno’s ‘Steel House’. The rust-coloured structure looks like a UFO perched above the Ransom Canyon in Texas. A perfect platform then for Solange’s warrior-like poses…

5. Róisín Murphy – ‘Ten Miles High’

While Solange was taking to the rooftops, singer Róisín Murphy was going underground in London, exploring the city’s Tube network for her self-directed video, ‘Ten Miles High’. Says the self-professed Brutalism fan: ‘This visual concept comes directly from my rather exuberant love of architecture, something I’ve had a passion for since my teenage years.’

6. Frightened Rabbit – ‘Woke up Hurting’

Berlin is a wonderland of abandoned architecture and Beelitz-Heilstätten – a former military hospital on the city’s outskirts – serves as the eerie setting for Scottish band Frightened Rabbit’s track ‘Woke up hurting’. The complex is mostly closed off to the public, so the Dan Massie-directed video offers a rare chance to look inside the mysterious building.

7. Massive Attack – ‘Voodoo In My Blood’

Iconic architecture comes in many guises, as this video from Massive Attack, starring actress Rosamund Pike, proves… Filmed entirely in the Joe Strummer subway in London’s Edgware Road, it sees the Gone Girl star dragged about the tunnel where The Clash frontman famously busked, by a cybernetic orb…

8. Radiohead – ‘Daydreaming’

Cult director Paul Thomas Anderson is responsible for Radiohead’s mesmerising video, ‘Daydreaming’, which sees Thom Yorke moving through a psychological dreamscape. Doors lead to hospital wards, suburban kitchens, school corridors and a laundrette – everyday spaces that take on a surreal bent.

9. Beyoncé – ‘Lemonade’

It was a big year for Beyoncé, who dropped her epic visual album Lemonade in April. The mega-video was shot at a number of locations around New Orleans and Louisiana, including Madewood Plantation near Napoleonville, built in 1846 by architect Henry Howard in the Georgian Revival style. Other architectural cameos come from the Destrehan Plantation, Bourbon Street and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

10. Coldplay – ‘Up&Up’

Coldplay got in on the archi-action too this year with their surreal video for single ‘Up&Up’. Directed by Vania Heymann and Gal Muggia, it took viewers on a surreal journey where iconic landmarks like the Chrysler Building pop out of cereal bowls, and a giant fish floats above New York’s skyline.

Read next: 10 buildings with extraordinary acoustics



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