Hansa Studios, also known as the Hansa Tonstudio in German, is a recording studio in a former builders’ guild hall in Berlin, Germany that has been witness to the seminal works of everyone from David Bowie to Iggy Pop.
Originally built in 1913 for the Berlin Builder’s Society, it soon shifted to serving as a chamber music concert hall, cabaret, and then cultural hub for artists and writers in the Weimar era. It seems the acoustics are great for everything.
In the early 1970s, Peter and Thomas Meisel took over the building and founded Hansa Studios. The neoclassical Meistersaal, a 1910 chamber music concert hall and 650-square-meter space with a polished floor and coffered ceiling, became Studio Two. Many iconic albums were recorded on the premises, including Iggy Pop’s Lust For Life and The Idiot (1977), Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ The Firstborn is Dead (1984) and Your Funeral, My Trial (1986). Hansa Studios remains most famous for hosting David Bowie, who came to Berlin during the summer of 1976. During his time in the city, he wrote the ‘Berlin trilogy’: Low, Heroes, and Lodger, though Heroes was the only album recorded entirely in Berlin itself, at Hansa.
Berlin Music Tours runs the only official tours of the studios, which may still be one of the most regal and stately music studios still in operation.