The Institute was founded in 1953 as a research institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences. Initially, its activities were focused on construction mechanics, building structures, building materials, architecture, town-planning and building physics.
In a later period the research activities were spread into the theoretical and experimental mechanics and dynamics, the theory of constructions of homogeneous and heterogeneous materials, mechanics of the systems of homogenous materials, physico-chemical mechanics, the rheology of heterogeneous materials, the thermal performance and indoor climate of buildings, building lighting engineering, the theory of architecture, the theory and sociology of town-planning and the ekistics.

In historical order the following persons took a position of the director of the Institute:
Karol Havelka, Rudolf Skrúcaný, Richard Kittler, Štefan Hanečka, Ján Sládek, Peter Matiašovský.
At the present, Martin T. Palou is at this post.

Nowadays the Institute consists of the following departments: mechanics, materials and structures and optics and thermophysics. The Institute has laboratories well equipped with testing and measuring technique. It employs 47 people and 23 of them have a scientific degree.
The research is particularly aimed at the fundamental theoretical and experimental research in the field of solid mechanics, the theory of concrete structures, the thermal and hygric performance of buildings, light scattering in the atmosphere and its aplications.

Results of the fundamental research are very often applied to the solutions to practical problems both in Slovakia and abroad. Some of them have been used as a base for creating the Slovak and international technical codes.

The Institute has published two scientific journals: Building Research Journal 1952-2014 and Architecture and Town-planning since 1966-2018.