One of our favorite New Orleans gems is the Piazza d'Italia, an Epcot Disney vision of Italy built during the 1984 World's Fair. Considered to some as a postmodern icon, to others a puzzling, kitschy structure seemingly plucked out of a movie set and jammed in next to a hotel, it's nonetheless important: it represents the development of the Warehouse District, once a derelict part of town, that began during the World's Fair, and it was the site of a very apropos Sophia Loren sculpture during Prospect.2. According to NOLA.com, the Piazza will soon be the target of some development: this week the city put out an RFP, asking for ideas to develop the two parking lots adjacent to the Piazza.
The RFP asks that proposed concepts be, "first-class commercial and/or mixed-use projects" with "luxury residential, retail or other professional office use, with entertainment components and other related amenities. The proposed plan should also include a plan to address the parking needs for the proposed use." In a statement from the city, Mayor Mitch Landrieu said:
"I encourage potential developers to be thoughtful and bold in their proposals that should complement and enhance this city-owned jewel while also reflecting New Orleans' culture and heritage." We sure hope no one messes with the Piazza; perhaps one of the developers will find a creative way to incorporate this odd, but magnificent landmark.
· Charles Moore: Going Against the Grain [Arch Daily]
· Re-Kitschifying a New Orleans Post-modern Icon (Prospect 2 Spotlight) [Hyper Allergic]
· Piazza d'Italia is city's next focus for redevelopment; proposals wanted [NOLA.com]