After the establishment of the independent Czechoslovak Republic, the city of Hradec Králové entered another dynamic stage of development. Already in the pre-war years, the local government wanted to establish the headquarters of some central offices in the city. Thanks to Mayor Ulrich’s efforts, the first institution with its headquarters in Hradec Králové became of the Czechoslovak State Railways, established in August 1920. Between 1919 and1924, residential houses for the employees of the Czechoslovak Railways were built at today’s Klumparova, Mánesova and Střelecká Streets according to the project designed by Oldřich Liska.
Although the authorship of Oldřich Liska could not be confirmed for two railway houses on Karel IV Street, it is very probable given his connection with the design of the other residential houses and the date of their construction. The formal similarity of the decoration of the façades also points to Liska’s authorship. The construction of house no. 640 was completed in August 1923 and the construction of the house no. 641 in January 1924.
Both buildings have the same rectangular layout. The houses are oriented north-east with the frontage facing the street. The buildings have four floors and a basement. Each floor is divided into two three-bedroom apartments with a kitchen and a bathroom. The two apartments are always designed mirroring the axis of the staircase, which is located in the center of the building.
The ground floor part of the house was probably not used for commercial space, but as residential space. In the basement, there were cellar cubicles, a laundry and bathrooms (for technical purposes, each apartment was equipped with its own bathroom). In addition to the cellar space, attic space was also available for the tenants.
The house façade refers to the inspiration in Neoclassicism. The ground floor is decorated with lesenes; at the entrance portal we can see relief indications of ancient pilasters. The façade is complemented by the relief decoration depicting a male and female nude above the furthest apart windows on the house No. 641, as well as birds on the middle two windows – a pair of storks above the left window and a pair of grouse above the right window. In a smaller strip of relief decoration above the second floor windows we can find a stylized logo of the Czechoslovak State Railways, which reminds us of the purpose for which both houses were built. The façade of the house no. 640 is almost identical, except for the depicted fauna. Instead of birds, the two middle windows are decorated with a relief of fighting he-goats. Similar motifs can be found on the façade of the neighboring houses (No. 613 and No. 614). They also have a male and female nude in relief above the entrance portal and the rest of the façade is decorated with Art Deco elements, very similar to previous projects by Oldřich Liska. This fact points to the possibility that Liska was the author of several houses in the area and that the same artist worked on the relief decoration of all four houses.
The residential houses for the employees of the state railways are part of the protected urban conservation area in Hradec Králové.