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Latvian Museum of Architecture

The name "Three Brothers" is analogous to “Three Sisters” - a similar group of warehouses in Tallinn. The architectural ensemble represents various phases of development of medieval dwelling houses at a time when houses were built on narrow strips of land.

The building situated at 17 Mazā Pils Str. is the oldest stone dwelling house in Riga (late 15th cent. – early 16th cent.) preserved until nowadays. The building has a gable roof and Gothic niches (with Renaissance elements in the facade). Initially the building had one room with a central oven; the attic was used for storing goods. In 1697 the house also accommodated a bakery, thus it was expanded into the yard and later onto the small front square on the street-side of the building, which means that originally streets in the Old Town used to be wider (during the restoration led by architect P.

Saulītis in 1955-1957 the front extension was torn down).

The house at 19 Mazā Pils Str. acquired its present look in 1646. The facade contains elements of Dutch Mannerism (restored after J. C. Brotze’s drawing dated 1785). The layout of the first floor is similar to the previous building. Above a low hall another spacious hall is located with large small-checkered windows; other rooms are located in the back of the second floor and in the attic. In 1746 the house acquired a stone portal.

The house at 21 Mazā Pils Str. acquired its present look in late 17th century. The building has a curved Barocco-style pediment; wooden stairs lead from the entrance hall to small offices located on every floor. During restoration the backyards of all the three buildings were joined together, and stone portals and Riga’s coat of arms were built in its surrounding walls.

The “Three Brothers” ensemble accommodates the State Inspectorate for the Protection of Cultural Heritage and the Latvian Museum of Architecture.  
It all started in 1992, when the Architectural Drawings and Manuscripts Unit was established in the Heritage Documentation Centre of the Cultural Heritage Inspectorate. The collection of architectural drawings and biographies donated by architect Leons Plauciņš was archived while complementing it with new acquisitions.

Latvian Museum of Architecture was founded on 28 July 1994 upon the decree No. 100 issued by the Minister of Culture. The museum opened its doors at 17 Mazā Pils Str. in the Old Town, operating as a structural unit of the State Inspectorate for the Protection of Cultural Heritage. Following the ministerial decree Jānis Lejnieks was appointed the museum director. The Latvian Museum of Architecture was officially opened on 19 April 1995 by the Minister of Culture with the Latvian Prime Minister present as well. The opening exhibition displayed the collection of the newly established museum.

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