The financial possibility of building an independent institution came in 1890. First, a land of 1552 square-fathom was bought in the area surrounding by Üllõi street - Kinizsi street - Rákos street (today Hõgyes Endre street) and it was later increased by further purchases. Then in 1890 the government called for a tender to build a palace which met all requirements and was also suitable to hold the School of Applied Arts that had been founded in 1880. The first prize was won by a series of plans, by Ödön Lechner and Gyula Pártos, mottoed "To the East Hungarian!" ("Keletre magyar!"), but the building authorization was handed out only in 1893. The opening ceremony of the palace was held as the final attraction of the Millennium celebrations on 25 October 1896.
There were heated debates on the palace ever since it was opened. By now its significance in the line of the international Secession and in the life-work of Lechner is an unquestionable fact. The most modern static technology with which the building was constructed all served the function, the artistically formed mass and the harmony of the individual decorational forms (just like the rolled steel poles of the main hall - that was not even hid away from the eyes of the visitors - has become an ornamental lace). The dome - decorated with Zsolnay ceramics - catches the eyes of the visitors from afar, while the hall of the main entrance gate with its fabulous decoration invites them inside. And still, because of those opposing, in 1920 the inside paintings (Károly Miksa Reissmann) were drastically whitewashed, leaving only two rooms and the wind-catcher to survive. During World War II the opened hall of the main entrance, the main dome, the glass hall and the corner dome on Hõgyes street were badly destroyed. The war damages were restored in 1949.