The development of the Elbe basin (Labská kotlina) was the subject of a urbanistic competition already in 1925. Due to the slower population growth, the area was not developed until just after World War II. During the so-called biennial plan, which aimed to solve the post-war shortage of flats in 1946–1947 and followed examples not only from the Soviet Union, but also from Scandinavia, the UK and the USA, a new, separate district was supposed to be built in this area. The challenge was met by Josef Havlíček and František Bartoš, graduates of Gočár’s special architectural studio at the Academy of Fine Arts, who worked on the update of the Hradec Králové city plan.
The two architects inclined to functionalism and knew the urban visions of Le Corbusier, and their ambition was to create a universal metropolitan housing development. They designed triplex blocks of effectively organized flats – the heart of the flat was no longer the kitchen but the living room, and the kitchen was just a utility corner along the lines of the so-called Frankfurt kitchen. The flats were graded according to their size – sixteen terrace triplex blocks were to house modest flats, while three triplex blocks were to include larger and more luxurious flats. The housing development was also to include a lodging house for singles and a social and cultural hall on the site where a communal laundry designed by architect Jan Rejchl was later built. The area was supposed to include parks and ten playgrounds for two terrace houses and civic amenities. In the two-lane main street axis, Havlíček and Bartoš planned a centre with amenities – shops, services, medical care, etc. After 1948, the buildings were completed according to the designs. Bartoš died in 1949, and after 1950, the project of houses with wide windows lined with red tiles was changed against Havlíček’s will and the original comprehensive plan was not carried out. The landscaping was completed in the coming decades, but no works of art were installed in the housing development, despite the continued efforts of Jan Rejchl, as mentioned by historian of architecture Michaela Janečková. In his letter on the new regulatory plan of 1955, architect Václav Rejchl Jr. wrote that the concept of terrace houses in the Elbe basin did not work and housing developments should be designed as semi-open or closed blocks of houses.
The housing development Labská kotlina is part of the protected site of the city conservation area in Hradec Králové.
Josef Havlíček, Počátky nového plánování Hradce Králové, Architekt, 1948, č. 1
Josef Havlíček; Karel Honzík, Návrhy a stavby, Praha 1964, s. 64–69
Rostislav Švácha (ed.), Paneláci 1, Praha 2017, s. 50–55