Lotus international is the magazine of reference for the architectural debate, representing the most authoritative voice on developments in international architecture. An indispensable tool for anyone who wants to find out about decisive events in the world of architecture, follow the research of leading figures in contemporary architecture, read essays by the most authoritative critics and explore the innovative phenomena that are changing the scene of the built environment.
The bilingual text (Italian and English), the wealth of images, the quality of the critical essays and the prestigious layout, combined with rigor in the treatment of the subjects, have given Lotus a unique authority on the international scene and the series of Lotus has become an indispensable reference for students, teachers, libraries and professionals engaged in the construction of an environment suited to the needs of our modern advanced societies.
Editor in chief
Maite García Sanchis
Studio Cerri & Associati
Barclay Gail Swerling
Juan Navarro Baldeweg
João Luís Carrilho da Graça
Manuel de Solà Morales
Herzog & de Meuron
Josep Llinàs Carmona
Lacaton & Vassal
Álvaro Siza Vieira
1963-1970 (1 – 7)
Lotus is founded by the publisher Bruno Alfieri of Venice in 1963 as a yearbook of international architecture. The first hefty bilingual issues come out regularly up until 1970.
Number 7, the last in the series, a publication with over 300 pages, represents the maximum compendium of this formula. The editorial committee of Lotus 7 is made up of Bruno Alfieri, Henry R. Hitchcock, Hester McCoy, Robert Venturi and Angelo Villa. The editor-in-chief is Bruno Alfieri.
1974-1994 (8 – 79)
Lotus reappears in September 1974 with issue number 8. The new series is published in Milan by the Industrie Grafiche Editoriali, then by the Gruppo Editoriale Electa, later Electa-Elemond Editori Associati. The magazine is edited by Bruno Alfieri until March 1977 when, with number 14, the role passes to Pierluigi Nicolin, former head of the editorial staff, and the person responsible for coordination of editing is Gabriella Borsano (until 1990). On resuming publication in 1974 Lotus becomes Lotus international and assumes the form of a biannual publication until issue number 11, and then a quarterly, gradually changing its role from that of an annual survey of architecture to that of a thematic magazine. Increasingly bilingualism becomes a consistent formula.
The thematic character of the magazine, which emerges clearly with the launch of the series of quarterly installments of 128 and then 132 pages, characterized by a regular appearance, has helped to make the magazine, over the course of the years, the most important vehicle for reflection on the problems of contemporary architecture.
From issue number 8 onward Lotus is able to rely on the collaboration of a committee of experts made up of Gae Aulenti, Oriol Bohigas, Vittorio Gregotti (until 1981), Christian Norberg-Schulz, Lionello Puppi (until 1977) and Joseph Rykwert. In 1982 (Lotus 34) they are joined by Mario Botta, Francesco Dal Co, Franco Purini, Jacques Lucan, Pierluigi Nicolin and finally, in 1984 (Lotus 41), Ignasi de Solà-Morales, Bernard Huet, Werner Oechslin, Marco De Michelis and Georges Teyssot. Over the years the editorial staff of the magazine sees the succession of Italo Rota, Massimo Scolari and Daniele Vitale, followed by Luca Ortelli and Alberto Ferlenga and, finally, Mirko Zardini and Alessandro Rocca with the coordination of editing entrusted to Rita Capezzuto (until 1992), Maria Chiara Tronconi (until 1996) and Barbara Fassoni (until 2001).
From 1982 on the magazine is accompanied by the Quaderni di Lotus / Lotus Documents, in which architectural themes and researches are given a systematic treatment.
The graphics of the magazine and the documents is the work of the editorial group itself, which avails itself on several occasions of the advice of designers like Diego Birelli, Pierluigi Cerri and F.G. Confalonieri, Alessandra Dal Ben, Lioba Wackernell, Andrea Lancellotti and Gaetano Cassini. The artisan character of the production of Lotus is a factor that ensures correspondence on the level of expression with that of comprehension of the specific contents of architecture.
The pursuit of architecture’s role as a matter of public interest, the attention paid to relations with different contexts, the links with university research, the international character of the exchanges with the most advanced areas of research and finally an emphasis on the urban values of architecture are the backdrop against which the magazine develops its brief.
In the eighties Lotus saw another enrichment in scope: architectural researches, observed and discussed in the form of projects, are now put to the test in the constructed work. Critical texts and projects are now accompanied by photographic images in a confrontation of architecture with the research of photographers like Luigi Ghirri, Giovanni Chiaramonte, Gabriele Basilico, Paolo Rosselli and Olivo Barbieri, to speak only of the Italians.
1994-2001 (80 – 111)
In this period, with the Mondadori publishing house, Lotus continues its activity in the field of architecture, extending its thematic horizons. With the exhaustion of the themes linked to so-called “urban architecture” and the end of the debate over postmodernism, Lotus examines a rapid succession of tendencies in architecture – high tech, minimalism, deconstructivism, the neo-informel, landscaping, research into immateriality and communication, etc – adopting a “cartographic” approach. The intention of representing a map of the attempts to achieve a sort of transmutation of architecture, with the presentiment that a certain world has come to an end and that something new is imminent, marks an opening up to post-ideological thinking for the magazine.
In this new situation Lotus performs a reflective and critical role with the help of the members of a new body of advisers.
In various forms – Committee of Experts, External Editorial Staff, Forum – the magazine in this period sees the close collaboration of Marc Bédarida, Brian Hatton and Sandro Marpillero, and then Georges Teyssot and Mirko Zardini and new and old fellow travelers like Juan Navarro Baldeweg, Shigeru Ban, Andrea Branzi, Santiago Calatrava, Gilles Clément, Ignasi de Solà-Morales, Manuel de Solà-Morales, Peter Eisenman, Kenneth Frampton, Tony Fretton, Frank O. Gehry, Steven Holl, Richard Ingersoll, Arata Isozaki, Toyo Ito, Rem Koolhaas, Kengo Kuma, Michael Maltzan, Jean Nouvel, Renzo Piano, Franco Purini, Umberto Riva, Italo Rota, Kazuyo Sejima, Alvaro Siza Vieira, Oswald Mathias Ungers, Gino Valle, Tony Vidler, Peter Walker, Mark Wigley and Cino Zucchi.
In 2000 the issues of Navigator start to come out: a four-monthly magazine focusing on the themes of the environment and landscape.
2002 - … (112 - …)
Since 2002 the magazine has been brought out by the Milanese publishing house Editoriale Lotus, with a program increasingly oriented toward understanding the nature of the changes taking place in the environment in the contemporary world with which the new hypotheses of architecture have to deal. The new idea is that the contributions of architecture, above and beyond the distorting illusions of self-celebration, are proving increasingly inadequate to tackle the breadth of the transformations underway in the new globalized world. Without renouncing any of the “hope” offered by architecture and planning, the conviction remains that the primary task now is to understand, before anything else, the forms and modes of these changes.
Before defending causes or movements, even before promoting what is crying out to be promoted, the magazine is asking what is right, beautiful, appropriate and desirable.
In recent years made up of Alessandro Rocca, Maria Teresa Conidi (until 2003), Giovanna Borasi, Lorenzo Gaetani, (until 2005) and Youngjoo Kim (until 2007), Manolo Verga (until 2008), Valentina Di Francesco (until 2013), the editorial staff now consists of Francesco Repishti, Michele Nastasi, Nina Bassoli with Gaia Piccarolo and Maite García Sanchis.
From issue no. 131 to issue no. 135 the magazine was published as a cooperative venture with the Skira publishing house.