The Rózsi Walter Villa was built in the neighborhood of the sanatoriums (the Glück Hydrotherapy Institute as well as the Grünwald and Herczel Sanatoriums) on Városligeti Fasor Lane (Vilma Királynő Road at that time), on a lot subdivided from the site of the Grünwald Sanatorium. The villa was designed by an outstanding figure of Hungarian Modern architecture, József Fischer, for the renowned opera singer Rózsi Walter as well as her husband Géza Radó and their daughter Marika Radó-Walter. Eszter Pécsi, the first female Hungarian structural engineer and Fischer’s wife, played a major role in the design, being responsible for the building’s reinforced concrete structure.
Fischer designed several Modern villas of a similar scale during this period, and they show the influence of the Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier. The Walter Villa, which was erected in under six months in 1936, is an outstanding work of Fischer’s architecture and at the same time is a significant example of Hungarian Modern residential architecture. A roof terrace was made atop the three-story, flat-roofed building. Its ground plan follows the layout typical of Modernist villas. There were service spaces, the caretaker’s apartment, and a garage on the ground floor. The first floor had a living room, dining room, and a salon, and the upper story had bedrooms, a child’s room, and bathrooms. A characteristic Modernist feature was that while the street-front façade was closed and had a simple design, the garden façade was more open, with the large windows of the rooms looking out on the yard. One of the special features of the house is the garden stairway, which links the balcony on the upper floor directly to the yard. The stairway was demolished sometime after 1949 but has been rebuilt during the most recent rehabilitation, thus completing the reconstruction of the garden façade.
After the Second World War, the new hospital of the Ministry of Interior, later named the Korvin Ottó Hospital, was established at 9-13 Városligeti Fasor Lane, which included the nationalized Rózsi Walter Villa as well. Of the three sanatoriums, the one in the middle, the Glück Institute, was demolished, and then the interior of the site was almost completely built up in the following decades.
The former villa of Rózsi Walter was used for decades as a nursery school and a pediatrician’s office. The hospital moved out of the site in 2009, leaving behind a collection of buildings that were worn out and in bad condition. Although the Rózsi Walter Villa and the sanatoriums had been remodeled several times, their original character-defining architectural details were still recognizable. The building complex stood vacant for the next decade.
Governmental Decree 1771/2017. (XI.7.) of the Hungarian Government declared the creation of the Hungarian Museum of Architecture and Monument Protection Documentation Center (HMA MPDC) under the auspices of the Hungarian Academy of Arts (HAA). Pursuant to the governmental decree, the building complex of the former Ministry of Interior hospital at Budapest, 7th District, 9-13 Városligeti Fasor Lane, land registry number 33505 was placed under the ownership of the HAA with the objective of implementing a project for the final location of the HMA MPDC. Through Governmental Decree 257/2020 (VI.3.), the government designated the official administrative matters related to the rehabilitation of the building complex a matter of high significance to the national economy and the project to be of outstanding importance for the public interest. The renovation and remodeling of the Rózsi Walter Villa took place between 2020 and 2022 in the first phase of the project.