Richard Meier Accused of Sexual Harassment

 John Hill
14. March 2018
Richard Meier (Photo: PLANE—SITE)
Five women, including four former employees of Richard Meier & Partners Architects, have accused the famed New York architect of sexual harassment, according to a New York Times article published Tuesday afternoon.
The bombshell article by Robin Pogrebin details the incidents of the five women, most of them happening in New York since 2000 but one taking place in the 1980s in Los Angeles when Meier was designing the Getty Center.

To date the #MeToo movement has been aimed at Hollywood, but it was just a matter of time before it reached the male-dominated world of architecture. While it wasn't until Tuesday that the world knew who the first prominent figure would be, some quotes in the Times story indicate Meier's actions were prevalent – and well known, at least within the firm. For instance, one of the four employees recounted how she was warned of his advances after being hired 15 years ago: "don't stay in the office late by yourself."

The 83-year-old Meier responded to the accusations of sexual harrasment with a statement (in full below) in which he apologized and indicated he will step down from his position for six months, leaving the company "in the hands of a dedicated and outstanding senior management team."

​Meier, who formed his practice in the early 1963, is one of the most celebrated living architects, having won the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1984, the RIBA Royal Gold Medal in 1988, and both the AIA Gold Medal and Praemium Imperiale in 1997, the same year the Getty Center opened.

The full statement from Richard Meier & Partners Architects:

New York, March 13th, 2018 – Richard Meier & Partners Architects announced today that Managing Partner Richard Meier will take a six-month leave of absence from the architecture firm.

“I am deeply troubled and embarrassed by the accounts of several women who were offended by my words and actions,” Meier said. “While our recollections may differ, I sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by my behavior.

Effective today, I am taking a six-month leave of absence as Founder and Managing Partner. 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."

While Richard Meier is away, Michael Palladino, partner and head of the company’s Los Angeles office, will oversee all of the firm’s operations and projects.

“Richard has built a world-class design practice and we will continue the strong collaboration between our two offices, as we continue to build on that legacy,” Palladino said. “We believe that women should feel comfortable and empowered in all workplaces – including ours.”

​In addition to Palladino and James R. Crawford in Los Angeles, four associate partners will oversee the day-to-day operations of the firm’s New York headquarters. They are:

  • Vivian Lee, AIA, has been responsible for the design, management and construction of residential, hospitality, and office projects in Asia and Europe, and most recently completed the Teachers Village charters schools and residential buildings in Newark, NJ.
  • Reynolds Logan, FAIA, is currently the Associate Partner-in-charge of One Waterline Square, a massive mixed-use and high-rise residential community that connects the Hudson River and Central Park.
  • Bernhard Karpf, FAIA, is one of the firm’s principal design partners. His projects include leading the design efforts on iconic projects such as the Surf Club in Surfside, FL.
  • Dukho Yeon, AIA, has served as a principal designer, managing and directing teams on projects around the globe ranging from houses to museums, hotels, high-rise office and residential buildings and urban design. His projects include the Seamarq Hotel and 685 First Avenue in New York, NY.

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