Video: Rethinking the Railway Exchange

Architecture students explore new ideas for a St. Louis icon

It’s one of the most recognizable buildings in St. Louis, a former department store known to generations of St. Louisans for lush holiday displays.

Yet since being vacated by Macy’s in 2013, the 1.2-million-square-foot Railway Exchange Building sits virtually empty. Now, architecture students from the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis have spent much of the last semester exploring adaptive reuse alternatives for the 21-story structure.

Led by Catalina Freixas, assistant professor in architecture, the class represents a collaboration between the Sam Fox School and Downtown STL, which serves as a catalyst for creating and promoting investment, economic activity and vibrancy downtown.

Students will publically present their work at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 10, at the Railway Exchange Building, 611 Olive St.

The event is free and open to the public, but RSVPs are requested. For more information, visit and