Music videos are a canny way to see buildings in fresh light, or better still – get inside little-seen spaces. This year they took us behind the scenes of a well-loved London landmark, and inside an LA mansion with a shady past…

Here are 7 of the best music videos for architecture lovers this year.

The Weeknd – ‘Secrets’

Raymond Moriyama’s striking Toronto Reference Library is the star of the show in the video for The Weeknd’s breezy, 80s-tinged synth-pop hit. Director Pedro Martín-Calero made full use of Moriyama’s vast tiered atrium, reportedly inspired by the Hanging Gardens Of Babylon.

The XX – ‘I Dare You’

The pyramid façade of Lloyd Wright’ Sowden House is an oppressive presence for the young cast in this video for The XX. The band seem unfazed as they perform poolside at the 1920s Mayan-Revival house, which was originally designed for artist Raymond Sowden. The ‘cultic’ structure gained notoriety again in the early 2000s when it was linked to the Black Dahlia’s alleged killer…

Jessie Ware – ‘Alone’

Jessie Ware looks resplendent in the Art Deco entrance hall to Eltham Palace in South London, designed by Rolf Engströmer in 1936. While parts of the house date back to the 1300s, its interiors are hailed as a ‘masterpiece of modern design,’ and the dining room – designed by Peter Malacrida – also stars in the video.

Phoenix – ‘Ti Amo’

Phoenix’s video for ‘Ti Amo’ explores the opulent architecture of the Teatro Bibiena in Italy’s Mantova. Director Colin Solal Cardo hones in on gilded mouldings, frescoes and looming boxes of Antonio Galli Bibiena’s 18th-century theatre, as the band perform amid a crowd of tourists form the village.

Sam Smith – ‘One Last Song’

In this canny one-shot video, director Joe Connor takes us from the grand stage of the London Palladium through the snaking backstage corridors of the historic theatre, out into the lavish foyer designed by Frank Matcham in the early 20th Century.

General Elektriks – ‘Different Blue’

The Berlin Arena gives General Elektriks ample room to multiply themselves in this crafty video by Arno Salters. The former bus depot-turned-mammoth concert space helped steer the direction of the video, not least the bold, graphical presence of the industrial pillars.

Regina Spektor – ‘Black and White’

Chicago’s Uptown Theatre has been closed since 1981, but this atmospheric video clip for Regina Spektor shows off the spectacular interior. Designed by Rapp and Rapp in the early 1920s, the theatre is a perfect example of the great ‘movie palaces’ of the early 20th Century.

Read next: 12 hotels for vinyl lovers

Oli writes about music for FACT, Mixmag, Resident Advisor and Red Bull Music Academy Daily among others. He also runs Schmorgasbord Records.

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