By the end of the 19th century the area round the Narva Gate was a typical workers’ suburb of a large city. The October revolution of 1917 brought artists, architects and writers freedom, but. Alas, not for long. In 1919 the architect and historian of architecture, Ivan Fomin, decided to turn the Narva Gate district into a model new town of the future. Its center was to be a large Palace of Culture. In 1920 the city authorities announced a competition for the best design to redevelop the district. It was won by the architect Noy Trotsky, namesake of the famous Bolshevik leader. Unfortunately his grandiose project proved to be too expensive, and building of the Palace did not begin until 1926 from a design by Alexander Gegello and David Krichevsky. At the center was a huge segment of a circle, which contained an auditorium seating 1900 and a large stage. To the right and left the auditorium was adjoined by rectangular blocks housing a cinema, library, lecture hall, and a hall for dancing, games and rest. In 1937 Gegello received a grand prize at the World Exhibition in Paris for his design.
In 1928 construction began opposite the palace of a department store and factory-kitchen which was to feed the district’s whole large working population. This constructivist building with free arrangement of the sections is most dynamic. The store and the palace of culture form propylaea, as it were, in front of the austere and majestic triumphal arch.
In 1925 not far from the palace of culture apartment blocks for workers began to go up on Traktornaya Street. In two years 15 three and four-story blocks were erected on both sides of the street. The constructivist forms of the building connected by arches and semi-arcades, the rounded protruding strairwells, the balconies and peaks over the entrances produce a most attractive panorama.
The strange configuration of a new school appeared in 1927 in Traktornaya Street. In plan it is a crossed hammer and sickle. The ensemble consists of five different-sized sections: towers which serve as stairwells, canteen, reading room, cloakroom and labs; a single story building with a gym; a curved block with the senior classrooms and an adjoining block for the junior classes. It was built by the architect Alexander Nikolsky.
In 1930 the Narva Gate acquired another square in front of the district Soviet building designed by Noy Trotsky. The length of the four story block is emphasized by the three close lines of windows. On the east it is adjoined by a semi-circular building with a meeting hall (now a movie theater). On the west by a fifty-meter tower which gives a dynamic quality to the whole structure. The simple clear silhouette creates a monumental effect. Building was completed in 1934. By then the government was making new demands on architecture. What later became known as Stalinist Empire among art historians was made the official style: huge buildings with grandiose porticos, columns, bas-reliefs, and sculptures extolling Communist ideology. The new archicture was intended to embody the greatness and might of Stalin’s empire. The district Soviet on the Stachek Square was the city’s last Constructivist building.