The renowned architect and Pritzker Prize winner, Richard Meier takes a 6-month leave from his position as founder and managing partner in Richard Meiers & Partners Architects. The leave comes as consequence to accusations of sexual harassment issued by five women and detailed in an article released by The New York Times on 13th March 2018. Four of these women were employees at his firm, while the fifth was a furniture designer who met him in the 1980s while he was working on the Getty Center project in Los Angeles.
Three of the cases took place in the architect’s New York apartment; two of which occurred in the past 10 years. A fourth one took place during a holiday party at his firm, while the fifth one took place at his residence in Los Angeles.
Following a confrontation with New York Times, the architect announced that he will be taking leave from his positions at the firm.
“I am deeply troubled and embarrassed by the accounts of several women who were offended by my words and actions. While our recollections may differ, I sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by my behavior,” said Meier in a statement
“I am leaving the company in the hands of a dedicated and outstanding senior management team which has spent the past three decades serving our clients and building our firm’s success,” he added.
Meier is a highly accomplished architect and artist. He has designed several landmarks, including the Getty Center in Los Angeles, Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, and Jubilee Church in Rome. He has also won several prestigious awards besides the Pritzker Prize, among which are the Royal Gold Medal and the AIA Gold Medal.
In celebration of the 55th anniversary of his practice, Meier founded a graduate scholarship program at Cornell University’s Architecture School from which he had graduated. The program was ironically intended to “recruit and retain the most talented women applicants.” However, the dean of Cornell’s College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, Kent Kleinman, commented on the news by describing Meier’s behavior as “unacceptable”. He said that the University will be declining “his new gift to name the chair of the Department of Architecture,” and consider further actions regarding his former scholarships and gifts.
For more on that account, you can check the New York Times article and read the details as described by the five women.