20 Architectural Music Album Covers

A building is to an architect what an album is to a musician or band. Now, excuse us for extending the analogy when we say that the façade of a building is like the sleeve cover of an album — it is (kinda). A sleek façade is integral to the experience of moving through a building just as an album’s artwork — yes, even now in the digital age — changes how you hear a record, at least for the first few times.

South by Southwest kicks off today in Austin, Texas, and to console ourselves for being stuck in wintry New York, we’ve combined our two loves of music and architecture. (No, not this.) Here are 20 album covers whose jewel-cases prominently feature architecture. From world-famous landmarks to surreal, fantasy structures, these cardboard buildings are candy for your eyes (and ears!).


CFCF, Exercises EP (2012)
Phillips Exeter Academy Library by Louis Kahn


Eminem, Recovery (2010)
Renaissance Center by John Portman & Associates


Azari & III, Azari & III (2012)
Burj Khalifa by Adrian Smith of SOM
Artwork: Guillaume Gilbert


Pink Floyd, Animals (1977)
Battersea Power Station by John Mowlem & Co.


Peter Bjorn and John, Writer’s Block (2006)
Artwork by Kerstin Hanson and Graham Samuels


Tape, Revelationes (2011)
Cover features panorama of Istanbul, including relief of Hagia Sophia


Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Unknown Mortal Orchestra (2011)
Monument to the Uprising of the People of Kordun and Banija by Armin Linke


Deltron 3030, Deltron 3030 (2000)
1939 New York World’s Fair Perisphere by Wallace K. Harrison


Cut/Copy, Zonoscope (2011)
Empire State Building by Shreve, Lamb and Harmon, and Chrysler Building by William Van Allen
Artwork: Toshi Wa Sawayakana Asa Wo Mukaeru by Tsunehisa Kimura


Modest Mouse, The Lonesome Crowded West (1997)
The Westin Seattle by John Graham & Associates


Real Estate, Real Estate (2009)
Hexahedron Arcology by Paolo Soleri


Air, 10,000 Hz Legend (2001)
Artwork: Monument Valley by Ito Morabito


Wilco, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002)
Marina City by Bertrand Goldberg


(But ew really, Owl City?)

Owl City, Ocean Eyes (2009)
Burj Al Arab by Tom Wright of Atkins


The Streets, Computers and Blues (2011)
Norfolk Terrace Halls at the University of East Anglia by Denys Lasdun


Glenn Branca, Ascension: The Sequel (2010)
Artwork: Robert Longo

Genghis Tron - Dead Mountain Mouth

Genghis Tron, Dead Mountain Mouth (2006)
Artwork featuring geodesic dome: Jon Beasley

Illinois - Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens, Illinois (2005)
John Hancock Center (in foreground) by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill
Artwork: Divya Srinivasan


Beastie Boys, To the 5 Boroughs (2004)
Artwork: Illustration of Downtown Manhattan by Matteo Pericoli


R. Kelly and Jay-Z, Unfinished Business (2004)
Collage of Chicago and New York City skylines by Akisia Grigsby

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