Richard Meier

Richard Meier retires and studio rebrands as Meier Partners three years after sexual harassment allegations

Pritzker Architecture Prize-winning architect Richard Meier has retired and the studio he founded has restructured, three years after accusations of sexual harassment were made against him.

Richard Meier & Partners Architects, which he founded in 1963, has been renamed Meier Partners.

As part of the changes, the firm's Los Angeles office has become an independent practice called STUDIOpractice led by Michael Palladin and Jim Crawford.

Dukho Yeon has been named partner and lead designer after 30 years at the practice. George H. Miller, previously managing partner at Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, has been named Meier Partners' partner and chief operating officer.

"The future we envision at Meier Partners will build on our proven record of exceptional architecture to create work that is both relevant for our time and meaningful to society," said Yeon.

"Our talented and fast-growing, reinvigorated team is working on a new generation of projects that I am confident will evolve our legacy and redefine the firm and the industry as we move forward."

Meier, 86, will still be available to consult with clients upon request, his studio confirmed in an announcement on 23 June. Meier's daughter Ana Meier will continue to serve as an advisor to the firm.

Accusations of abuse made in 2018

Meier temporarily stepped aside from his eponymous firm in March of 2018 after the New York Times published allegations against the architect.

Five women, four of whom were former employees, came forward with accusations of sexual harassment that included Meier groping their underwear and exposing himself to them. In one account a woman claimed he dragged her into a bedroom and held her down on a bed.

In a statement at the time, Meier said he was "deeply troubled and embarrassed" by the women's accounts. "While our recollections may differ, I sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by my behavior," he added.

In October 2018, the company announced that Meier would "step back from day-to-day activities" and associate partner Bernhard Karpf was promoted to managing partner in his stead.

However, according to Bloomberg, Meier had not been involved in day-to-day operations at the firm for years and remained engaged in the business after the announcement.

The scandal involving such a highly decorated and influential architect, famous for his particular style of all-white minimalism, rocked the architecture world.

Along with the 1984 Pritzker Prize, Meier was awarded the RIBA Royal Gold Medal in 1988 and both the AIA Gold Medal and the Praemium Imperiale in 1997. His buildings include the Getty Centre in Los Angeles and City Hall in The Hague.

"Personal, vigorous, original" architecture

"We honor Richard Meier for his single-minded pursuit of the essence of modern architecture," said the Pritzker jury. "He has broadened its range of forms to make it responsive to the expectations of our time."

"In his search for clarity and his experiments in balancing light and space, he has created structures which are personal, vigorous, original."

News of the allegations against Meier came months after the revelations made against Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein, who is now in prison on charges of rape and sexual assault.

The revelations sparked the #MeToo movement of women sharing the abuses they'd experienced in the workplace.

In response, Dezeen columnist Anna Winston asked if architecture had its own Weinstein hiding in its ranks. A subsequent Dezeen survey revealed a "shocking" lack of women in top architecture jobs, prompting our Move the Needle initiative to tackle gender imbalance in the design industry.

The main image of Richard Meier is by Silja Magg.