Introducing Meier Partners
24. June 2021
Jubilee Church, Rome, Italy, 2003 (Photo © Scott Frances/Esto)
Richard Meier & Partners Architects, the firm started by its namesake in 1963, is now Meier Partners, coinciding with the 86-year-old architect's retirement and reflecting the firm's effort to move past the sexual harassment charges leveled at him in 2018.
The news of the name change broke yesterday on Architectural Record, which points out that as part of the restructuring plan the firm hired George H. Miller, former managing partner at Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, to become COO, and longtime employee Dukho Yeon will be the firm's lead designer. Miller, who is 72, was brought in "quietly" in 2019, one year after he left PCF. Yeon, 61, was named principal in 2018 after having worked on Seamarq Hotel in Gangneung, the OCT Clubhouse in Shenzhen, Teachers Village in Newark, and the Jubilee Church in Rome, among numerous other projects. Accompanying them as leaders of Meier Partners is Ana Meier, Richard Meier's daughter and creative director of lighting company Meier Light.
Back in March 2018, at the height of the #MeToo movement, five women, including four former employees of Richard Meier & Partners Architects, accused Richard Meier of sexual harassment, as published in a New York Times article. Meier, 83 at the time, responded to the allegations extending back to the 1980s and the firm designing the Getty Center with an apology that failed to admit guilt. It read in part: "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."
Meier took a six-month leave of absence but then returned and told the Times he had "no plans to retire," as recounted in the Record article. Soon after, the firm issued a statement saying Meier was "stepping back," indicative of the trouble his presence had on current and potential clients. The Record article illuminates the troubles, describing how "in the aftermath of the Times’ articles, clients of ongoing US projects distanced themselves, discreetly using the firm’s entire name and dropping Meier’s photo from ad campaigns." Furthermore, "since that time, virtually no new work in the U.S. has come into the firm," though projects outside of the US have not been impacted.
Meier Partners launched a new website yesterday, and the name change is reflected in the firm's profile on World-Architects. Clearly indicating a strong desire to move past the charges leveled at her father, Ana Meier told Record, "there is so much value and importance in the work that we want it to go on and continue for a long time."