Richard Meier is one of the world’s most celebrated architects, a member of the original New York Five whose works include the Getty Center, the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art and the Paley Center, among countless others. The Pritzker Prize winner, now 83, has been so prolific that he built a 15,000-square-foot museum in New Jersey housing models of projects he created during his five-decade career.
Now, disturbingly, it appears he’ll be remembered for doing something other than minimalist architecture over a long period of time. Five women have come forward with accounts of Meier exposing himself to them, groping them, asking them to undress so that he could photograph them naked and, in one woman’s account, forcefully pulling her onto a bed.
The earliest allegation dates back to the ’80s, while the most recent date from 2009, when Meier was 75 and his accusers were 22 and 24. The former spoke up and received a $150,000 settlement, while the latter told the Times that “The incident felt shameful and embarrassing, even though I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong…. I was worried about my co-workers and what would happen to their reputations if Mr. Meier’s behavior was exposed. Speaking up didn’t feel like an option.”
The latter woman did, however, tell management.
She was subsequently laid off.
The full list of allegations is here.
Following their publicity, Meier has said he will take a six-month leave of absence from his firm.