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Published: August 29, 2012
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National Building Museum Names Paul Goldberger as the Fourteenth Laureate of the Vincent Scully Prize

Award presentation and lecture will be held at the National Building Museum on November 15, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The National Building Museum presents its fourteenth Vincent Scully Prize to Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic Paul Goldberger, for his lifetime work of encouraging thoughtful discourse and debate about the importance of design. Goldberger has written for a number of publications including The New York Times, The New Yorker, and is currently a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. In announcing his selection, members of the Vincent Scully Prize jury—jury chair David Schwarz, architect, David M. Schwarz Architects; Deborah Berke, architect, Deborah Berke & Partners Architects; Ned Cramer, editor-in-chief, ARCHITECT; Gary Haney, design partner, SOM; and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, planner, professor, and author—recognized that Goldberger understands that architecture is in itself a form of public discourse. Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk noted his unique ability to “explain architecture to the popular readership in a way that bridges the perceiver and the designer.” David Schwarz added, “Paul is a person that lets people understand the importance of place.”

On hearing that the news about the Scully Prize, Goldberger remarked “A long time ago, Vincent Scully convinced an eager Yale undergraduate that architecture was not just about buildings, but about all of culture and community, and that writing about it could be a meaningful pursuit. In a very real way I owe my career to the lessons I learned from him, which is why, for me, there could be no higher honor than to receive the prize that carries his name. I am truly grateful to the jury and to the National Building Museum for selecting me to receive the Vincent Scully Prize.” 

A public award ceremony to celebrate Goldberger’s receipt of the prize will be held at the National Building Museum on Thursday, November 15, 2012 from 6:30 to 8:00 pm. During the public program, Goldberger will deliver a talk on the state of architecture criticism today, the changing role of mainstream media in a digital world, and the rise of citizen journalists.

The Vincent Scully Prize and endowment were established by the National Building Museum in 1999 to recognize exemplary practice, scholarship, or criticism in architecture, historic preservation, and urban design. The National Building Museum honored Vincent Scully himself with the first Vincent Scully Prize in 1999. The prize grew rapidly in international prominence with the selection of laureates known for their advocacy of thoughtful urban spaces and historic preservation, exemplary practice of planning and design, commentary on design in contemporary life, and promotion of traditional arts in architecture.

Goldberger follows thirteen other internationally acclaimed authors, scholars, educators, and practitioners in the fields of architecture and urbanism who have been awarded the Vincent Scully Prize.

Past recipients are listed here with their affiliation at the time of their selection:

  • Vincent Scully, sterling professor emeritus of the History of Art at Yale University
  • Jane Jacobs, urbanist and author of The Nature of Economies
  • Andrés Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, founders of  Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co
  • Robert Venturi, FAIA and Denise Scott Brown, RIBA
  • His Highness the Aga Khan
  • His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales
  • Phyllis Lambert, architect, educator, philanthropist, and activist
  • Witold Rybczynski, architectural critic, author and essayist
  • Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation
  • Robert A.M. Stern, dean of the Yale School of Architecture
  • Christopher Alexander, architect and author
  • Adele Chatfield-Taylor, president of the American Academy in Rome
  • William K. Reilly, former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency

About Paul Goldberger, Fourteenth Laureate of the Vincent Scully Prize

Paul Goldberger, who the Washington Post called "America’s preeminent public critic of architecture," is now a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. From 1997 through 2011 he served as the architecture critic for The New Yorker, where he wrote the magazine’s celebrated “Sky Line” column. He also holds the Joseph Urban Chair in Design and Architecture at The New School in New York City. He was formerly dean of the Parsons School of Design, a division of The New School. He began his career at The New York Times, where in 1984 his architecture criticism was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Criticism, the highest award in journalism.

He is the author of several books, most recently Why Architecture Matters, published in 2009 by Yale University Press; Building Up and Tearing Down: Reflections on the Age of Architecture, a collection of his architecture essays published in 2009 by Monacelli Press, and Christo and Jeanne-Claude, published in 2010 by Taschen. He is now at work on a full-length biography of the architect Frank Gehry, to be published by Alfred A. Knopf. In 2008 Monacelli published Beyond the Dunes: A Portrait of the Hamptons, which he produced in association with the photographer Jake Rajs. Paul Goldberger was named one of The New York Times Notable Books for 2004. Paul Goldberger has also written The City Observed: New York, The Skyscraper, On the Rise: Architecture and Design in a Post-Modern Age, Above New York, and The World Trade Center Remembered.

He lectures widely around the country on the subject of architecture, design, historic preservation, and cities, and has taught at both the Yale School of Architecture and the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, in addition to The New School. His writing has received numerous awards in addition to the Pulitzer, including the President’s Medal of the Municipal Art Society of New York, the medal of the American Institute of Architects, and the Medal of Honor of the New York Landmarks Preservation Foundation, awarded in recognition of what the Foundation called “the nation’s most balanced, penetrating, and poetic analyses of architecture and design.” In May 1996, New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani presented him with the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission’s Preservation Achievement Award in recognition of the impact of his writing on historic preservation in New York. In 1993, he was named a Literary Lion, the New York Public Library’s tribute to distinguished writers. In 2007, he was presented with the Ed Bacon Foundation’s Award for Professional Excellence, named in honor of Philadelphia’s legendary planner, and in 2009 he received the Gene Burd Urban Journalism Award from the Urban Communication Foundation.

He has been awarded honorary doctoral degrees by Pratt Institute, the University of Miami, Kenyon College, the College of Creative Studies, and the New York School of Interior Design for his work as a critic and cultural commentator on design. He appears frequently on film and television to discuss art, architecture, and cities, and recently served as host of a PBS program on the architect Benjamin Latrobe. He has also served as a special consultant and advisor on architecture and planning matters to several major cultural and educational institutions, including the Morgan Library in New York, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, the New York Public Library, the Glenstone Foundation, and Cornell and Harvard universities. He serves as special advisor to the jury for the Richard A. Driehaus Prize, a $200,000 prize awarded annually for traditional architecture and urbanism. He is a graduate of Yale University, and is a trustee of Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio; the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Washington, D.C.; the Forum for Urban Design, and the New York Stem Cell Foundation. He is married to Susan Solomon, and they are the parents of three sons: Adam, a composer for film and television in Los Angeles; Ben, a journalist in Chicago, and Alex, an Olympics researcher at NBC. He resides in New York City.

About Vincent Scully and the Scully Prize

The Vincent Scully Prize was instituted in honor of Vincent Scully, the Sterling Professor Emeritus of the history of art at Yale University and Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Miami and one of the country’s leading architectural historians and critics. For more than six decades his teaching and scholarship have profoundly influenced prominent architects and urban planners.

A scholar whose work covers both ancient and modern architecture, Scully is a leading commentator on the changing design of urban areas and its effect on the populace. As a popular teacher, Scully has taught thousands of undergraduates about architectural history. His courses are credited with introducing some of Yale’s most famous alumni to architecture and art history. He was twice selected by Time magazine for its survey of "Ten Outstanding American College Teachers." Scully was also a Mellon Visiting Professor of History at the California Institute of Technology and a Louis I. Kahn Professor at the American Academy in Rome. He is a former member of the Board of Trustees of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Scully’s numerous awards include the National Medal of Arts, the nation’s highest honor for artists and arts patrons.

The National Building Museum is grateful for the generous donations to the Vincent Scully Prize received since its inception, which sustain the program.

Registration Information for the November 15, 2012 Public Program
Tickets for the public lecture are $12 for Museum members and students, and $20 for non-members. Pre-paid registration required. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.nbm.org or call 202.272.2448.

The National Building Museum is America’s leading cultural institution dedicated to advancing the quality of the built environment by educating people about its impact on their lives. Through its exhibitions, educational programs, online content, and publications, the Museum has become a vital forum for the exchange of ideas and information about the world we build for ourselves. Public inquiries: 202.272.2448 or visit www.nbm.org. Connect with us on Twitter: @BuildingMuseum and Facebook.

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