The building located at Lai 9 is one of the purest forms of neo-renaissance buildings in Tallinn, whose older structures originate from the Middle Ages. At the beginning of the 14th century, the property comprised wooden buildings – a residential building and a horse stable, which was replaced by a large limestone dwelling, a storehouse and a small house – these buildings remained there until the end of the 18th century.
An earlier image of the Lai Street 9 facade dates back to 1825, where the building had an early classicist appearance – the two-storey aristocratic residence with a low mezzanine storey, high hip roof and a balcony with the width of median avant-corps was similar to the neighbouring house at Lai Street 5 (today's NUKU Theatre). Along with the other elegant and classicist neighbouring houses, these buildings gave the upper part of the 19th century Lai Street a modern and metropolitan look.
The appearance of the street side building at Lai 9 is associated with the change in ownership in 1791, when the property went into the possession of the Stackelberg family and it belonged to them until the nationalisation in 1940.
Alexander Rudolf von Engelhardt, an architect of Baltic German lineage, made a radical cosmetic upgrade to the building. The new architectural solution of the facade on the side of Laia Street is based on the example of Palazzo Strozzi in Florence – the facade includes smooth-faced rustication, round-arch windows; a frontispiece and Greifs holding a heraldic plaque accentuate the eave's cornice.
Lai Street is one of the oldest streets in Tallinn Old Town, which the historical records have mentioned already in 1314. The street begins at the foot of Toompea and heads in the direction of Tallinn Bay in parallel with Pikk Street. In Medieval Tallinn, Lai Street (Wide Street) was one of the main streets and it has been named accordingly because it really is a wide street, even in contemporary urban space.
Tallinn old town
Tallinn Old Town has been named a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. The oldest building sites from the beginning of the 13th century include several churches, guild houses, Toompea Castle and St Mary's Cathedral.