Since the mid-19th century, the Budapest Museum of Applied Arts, modelled on the South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria and Albert), has been one of the world's great art and design museums. It has earned considerable international prestige through its place in Hungarian history, its extensive collections and the building itself. The main building is the principal masterpiece of Ödön Lechner, one of the great innovators of architectural style, and it is one of the country's emblematic historic buildings, a major tourist attraction and an object of cultural pride.
It was seriously damaged in the wars of the twentieth century, especially the conflict of 1956, and no comprehensive refurbishment has ever taken place. Substandard repairs have brought it to a critical, near-disastrous condition: the roof and the wall facing have loosened, corroding fixtures are starting to fall off, water pipes regularly fracture in the building's interior, the electrical system is overloaded, fire and other hazards are everywhere, and the survival of the collections and the safety of staff and visitors cannot be assured. The renovation, restoration and technical upgrading of this historic building cannot be further postponed.