The RIAS has issued a statement regarding the sexual harassment claims against US architect Richard Meier, who holds an honorary fellowship from the incorporation
The response echoes the RIBA condemnation of the alleged behaviour made last week, and comes as the New York branch of the American Insitute of Architects (AIA) rescinded a recent design award to Meier’s firm
The statement says: ‘The RIAS take allegations of this nature extremely seriously and condemn any form of sexual harassment and misconduct.’
The incorporation awarded the honorary fellowship to Meier in 1988 and, like the RIBA, is not reviewing Meier’s honorary titles.
On March 13, the 83-year-old Pritzker Prize-winning architect announced he was taking a six-month leave of absence from his New York practice Richard Meier & Partners, saying he was ‘deeply troubled and embarrassed’ following a report in the New York Times about his behaviour towards five women.
The RIBA, which awarded Meier the Royal Gold Medal and its own honorary international fellowship in the late 80s, responded with a similarly worded statement a week ago from its president Ben Derbyshire.
However, the position of the two UK organisations appears to be in contrast to growing action taken against Meier in the US in the wake of the report and his subsequent response.
Yesterday the New York chapter of the AIA said it was withdrawing a recent design award given to Richard Meier & Partners alongside one given to another well-known architect based in the city, Peter Marino (pictured below), who is facing a harassment lawsuit from a former employee.
Source: Manolo Yllera
AIANY executive director Benjamin Prosky said the organisation held itself and its members ‘to the highest standard of integrity, ethics and decency’ and said any breach of this was ‘completely unacceptable’.
He added: ‘Therefore, given allegations of inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour by two AIANY 2018 Design Award Recipients, Richard Meier and Peter Marino, the AIANY board of directors has made the decision to rescind the honours that were announced in January 2018 and were to be celebrated at the Honors and Awards Luncheon next month.
’Our decision does not speak to the design quality of the projects or the contributions from the respective firms’ design teams. Rather we cannot in good conscience confer these awards under these circumstances.’
A number of US institutions have also chosen to cut ties with Meier, including Cornell University, auction house Sotheby’s and the J Paul Getty Trust.
Richard Meier & Partners has been contacted for comment.
In a statement released to US media responding to the AIANY action, a spokesperson for Peter Marino Architect (PMA) said: ‘PMA is committed to eliminating harassment from the workplace as is any other member of AIA New York. But AIA’s new policy goes too far.
‘According to AIANY’s new policy, if there is any allegation pending – regardless of merit – AIANY bars a member from being honoured. In the case of Peter Marino, had AIANY just read the public record, it would have learned that PMA has disputed the sole hostile work environment claim against the firm, a claim raised by a claimant who quit her PMA job and is trying to use the courts to have her employment reinstated.
‘In fact a pending motion seeks sanctions against the claimant, who has been countersued by PMA for malfeasance and insurance fraud. That dispute with a former PMA employee bears no resemblance to the type of misconduct that has garnered much recent public attention. Nor does it merit any public rebuke from the AIA or any other professional colleague.’