She was the first architecture critic for a major daily newspaper, won the Pulitzer for Criticism in 1970, and whether you agreed with her or not was a paragon of a civic voice for many reasons, among them this small but important distinction referred to in her New York Times obituary this morning—a distinction which all conscientious critics try like hell to get across:

“I wish people would stop asking me what my favorite buildings are,” Ms. Huxtable wrote in The Times in 1971, adding, “I do not think it really matters very much what my personal favorites are, except as they illuminate principles of design and execution useful and essential to the collective spirit that we call society.

“For irreplaceable examples of that spirit I will do real battle.”

Read another memoriam on Dwell.