Richard Meier’s six-month leave of absence from the firm he founded, which began after five women came forward in March to accuse him of sexual misconduct, has become more permanent. Richard Meier & Partners Architects announced today that its founder would “step back from day-to-day activities” at the firm. Bernhard Karpf, formerly an associate partner, will become the managing principal of the New York office.
Just last month, Meier, age 83, had seemed confident he would retain his post. “I’m back at work later this month,” he told the New York Times, insisting, contrary to earlier statements, that he had taken a professional backseat due to health concerns, not because of the allegations against him. “I’m still at the top. I have no plans to retire.”
During Meier’s leave of absence, Karpf had overseen activities in New York with associate partners Vivian Lee, Reynolds Logan, and Dukho Yeon, who are now being promoted to principals. Longtime firm partner Michael Palladino will continue to lead the firm’s West Coast operations.
According to a statement, Meier “will remain available to colleagues and clients who seek his vast experience and counsel. The firm will maintain and develop the rigorous design philosophy that Richard pioneered.”
The release did not acknowledge the accusations made against Meier, and the firm will continue to bear his name. “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.”
Upon hearing the allegations against Meier, the J. Paul Getty trust cancelled a planned dinner honoring the architect, Sotheby’s New York closed an exhibition of his work, and Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, turned down a substantial gift that would have endowed the chair of the architecture department in Meier’s name.
Meier graduated from the school with a bachelors of architecture in 1956. The architect founded his namesake firm in 1964, and made a name for himself designing such high-profile projects as the Getty Center in Los Angeles.
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