Richard Meier takes leave of absence following sexual harassment allegations

Breaking news: Pritzker Prize-winning architect Richard Meier said he was “deeply troubled and embarrassed” by accusations of sexual harassment against him, as he temporarily stepped down from his company.

Meier’s statement came after the New York Times published allegations from five women, including four former employees.

“I am deeply troubled and embarrassed by the accounts of several women who were offended by my words and actions,” Meier said in a statement published on the Richard Meier & Partners website.

“While our recollections may differ, I sincerely apologise to anyone who was offended by my behaviour,” Meier wrote.

“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.”

In the New York Times story, women recounted their experiences of the architect exposing himself, grabbing underwear at an office party, asking another to undress and dragging another onto his bed.

Born in Newark in 1934, Meier studied architecture at Cornell University. He worked at SOM and with Marcel Breuer before establishing Richard Meier & Partners in 1963, where he developed his famed white and glass palette. His practice has completed over 130 buildings across the globe including the Getty Centre in Los Angeles and the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art.

In 1984, aged 49 Meier became the youngest recipient of the Pritzker Prize, architecture’s highest accolade. At the time the jury said “We honor Richard Meier for his single-minded pursuit of the essence of modern architecture. He has broadened its range of forms to make it responsive to the expectations of our time.”

In 1988 Meier was awarded the RIBA Royal Gold Medal and in 1997 he received both the AIA Gold Medal and the Praemium Imperiale – completing his haul of architecture’s four most respected awards. In 2010, Cornell established the Richard Meier Professor of Architecture named in honour of the architect.

More than fifty years after he established his practice the architect is still hugely influential and ranked 71 on the 2017 Dezeen Hot List.

Photograph by Silja Magg.

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