In the mid-19th century, European countries underwent significant changes in their economies. To a large extent they were facilitated by the development of railways. The ability to transport goods quickly and cheaply over long distances by land facilitated industrial development and urban growth. This in turn paved the way for extensive construction. Riga was not an exception in these processes. A decision inspired by local entrepreneurs and supported by Riga Stock-exchange Committee members was made to organize a local technical school and educate specialists locally instead of attracting them from other countries. Established in 1862, the Riga Polytechnic (RP) was the first institution of higher technical education in the Baltic region training specialists in technical disciplines. Already in the first decade of its operation, the Department of Architecture (DA) was opened. The aim of this study is to analyse what circumstances had an impact on the formation of architectural education in Riga and how the graduates of DA have influenced the spatial appearance of Riga city centre.