NEW YORK (AP) — Award-winning architect Richard Meier is taking a six-month leave from the firm he founded after four women who worked with him and a fifth who met him on a project detailed encounters where they said he sexually harassed them.
The New York Times reported the earliest accusation dates back to the 1980s, when Meier was designing the Getty Center in Los Angeles. Furniture designer Carol Vena-Mondt said Meier tried forcefully to engage in sexual activity after inviting her to a dinner at his home where she turned out to be the only guest.
"I twisted and pulled away from him, and he grabbed one of my arms and started dragging me down the hallway toward the bedroom," Vena-Mondt told the Times.
The other allegations come from women who worked with Meier in the 2000s. Meier allegedly exposed himself to two of the women at his apartment and asked a third to undress after showing her photographs he had taken of naked women. The fourth woman said Meier grabbed her underwear through her dress at a company party.
In a statement Tuesday, Meier said he would be on leave effectively immediately from Richard Meier & Partners Architects.
"I am deeply troubled and embarrassed by the accounts of several women who were offended by my words and actions," Meier, 83, said. "While our recollections may differ, I sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by my behavior."
The firm said the company's projects would be overseen by a partner in the Los Angeles office, as well as associate partners in the New York headquarters.
Meier is a winner of the Pritzker Prize, the most celebrated award in architecture. His firm has taken on a number of high-profile projects, including a building for the High Museum of Art, and the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art.