Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic Paul Goldberger gave a talk—“Architectural Criticism in the Age of Twitter”—before he was presented with the fourteenth Vincent Scully Prize at the National Building Museum. Goldberger, currently a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, examined the state of architectural criticism today, why it should exist, and whether it makes any real difference in public discourse. He says it does “truly shape the city.”

While he noted that “architecture critics have never been plentiful,” Goldberger also spoke about a “greater sense of engagement that people almost everywhere now seem to have with the built environment, a heightened sense of caring about what their neighborhoods, streets, downtowns, and public spaces will look like and feel like to use.”

Architectural criticism is “on the front line,” a way into architecture for most people. It’s not just entertainment for just a few readers. Its implicit mission is to help…

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