Rethinking the Railway Exchange

Architecture students explore new ideas for a St. Louis icon

Posted by December 9, 2014

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, graduate 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.

Nine students—Alexander Ayres, Jonathan Bryer, Caridad Cáceras, Michael Halls, Garrett House, Brett Loehmann, Caitlin Milligan, Michael Politte, and Hang Ye—publicly presented their work December 10, at the Railway Exchange Building, 615 Olive St. For more information, visit and

Additional Coverage

Architecture students devise rehabs of Railway Exchange, Tim Bryant, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, December 11, 2014
Wash U. students offer designs to transform Railroad Exchange building, KTVI FOX 2 News St. Louis, December 10, 2014