The building of the Estonian Centre of Defence Investments has a long defence-related history.
Between 1915 – 1916 it was built by tsarist Russia in St. Petersburg as part of the fortifications designed to protect the marine Tallinn “sea fortress artillery barracks” for the three current Tondi barracks and headquarters building on the street, where the centre is located today. Astangu ammunition warehouses, batteries and coastal defence batteries have been preserved from the fortifications that were located on both sides of the Gulf of Finland, the northern coast and on the islands.
Tondi barracks and headquarters building was designed by the Russian army engineer thought to be Aleksander Jaron (1875 – 1935), whose works include, inter alia, the former main building of Eesti Pank Estonia pst 13, Erika barracks buildings on the street and many others.
According to different data, the design of the campus area and the construction of buildings lasted from 1908 to 1916. The staff building, where ECDI is now located was completed in around 1916. In 1918, the buildings were taken over by the Germans who left in December of the same year, leaving the buildings at the mercy of looters.
In January 1919, the Estonian People’s Army took over the buildings that were used at first as a military infirmary, and the next year as a military school.