The Real Deal New York

Seven months after sexual misconduct allegations, Richard Meier steps down

Bernhard Karpf will lead the architecture firm
By Erin Hudson | October 09, 2018 12:15PM

Richard Meier (Credit: Getty Images)

UPDATE, Tuesday, October 9, 3:42 p.m.: Richard Meier, the founder and managing partner of his eponymous architecture firm, is stepping down.

The announcement comes seven months after five women accused the Pritzker Prize winner of sexual harassment in a report published by The New York Times. Meier, who founded Richard Meier & Partners in 1963, took a six-leave of absence from the firm after the allegations were made public.

Meier will continue to be “available to colleagues and clients who seek his vast experience and counsel,” however the firm will now be led by managing principal Bernhard Karpf, the firm announced Tuesday.

“It is an honor to lead this talented team as we build upon the body of work we have created over a half-century,” Karpf said in a statement. “Richard’s vision has produced a unique architectural design language that is instantly recognizable and internationally celebrated. I am committed to support both the New York and Los Angeles offices as we continue to evolve and grow.”

Partner and principal designer Michael Palladino will continue to lead the firm’s West Coast projects from the firm’s Los Angeles office with Jim Crawford.

Meier reportedly told the Times in September that he would be returning to work later in the month. “I’m still at the top. I have no plans to retire,” he said in a phone call with the paper. In the same conversation, he claimed he didn’t recognize any of the accusers who came forward publicly and he attributed his six-month absence was because of health issues, not the allegations.

When Meier’s leave of absence began, his firm was at work on at least two new major projects: Sheldon Solow’s condominium at 685 First Avenue and a tower for GID Development as part of its three-condo project, One Waterline Square. Both projects used Meier’s name and image in marketing efforts, evoking his lengthy career and reputation as a prolific architect and Pritzker Prize laureate.

A spokesperson for the firm declined to comment.

Meier apologized to the women who accused of him of a longstanding pattern of sexual misconduct, which included attempts of forcible kissing, groping, exposing himself, and requests that they undress in front of him. “I am deeply troubled and embarrassed by the accounts of several women who were offended by my words and actions,” he told the Times in March. “While our recollections may differ, I sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by my behavior.”

Editor’s note: The story was updated to include comments Meier made to The New York Times during a September phone call.