Construction of the station began shortly after the launch of the second stage in 1938. Despite World War II the station was opened on time. Later in 1978 the platform was lengthened. This part is in a more modern style than the rest of the station.
The station honors the Soviet fighting men with its heavy ornamentation. The architects, I. Taranov and N. Bykova, won a USSR State Prize for their design.
The decorations include seven octagonal ceiling mosaics by Vladimir Frolov on the theme of wartime industry and bas-reliefs running along the base of the ceiling (by artists N.V. Tomsky, A.E. Zelensky, S.M. Rabinovich, and N.M. Shtamm) depicting the soldiers of the Red Army in combat. The pink and white marble pylons are also decorated with cast-bronze portraits of Russian war heroes like Mikhail Kutuzov and Alexander Nevsky. Floor lamps, long since replaced with more up-to-date lighting in other Metro stations, still give Novokuznetskaya an atmosphere of brooding shadow.
There is an urban legend that the station’s ornate benches were made of Carrara marble taken from the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour just before it was demolished (in 1931), but it is not true, and the marble was from Ural, not Italy.