Following news that three former coworkers had accused renowned Ghanaian-British architect David Adjaye of sexual harassment and misconduct, Adjaye, who designed the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., resigned from a number of positions on Tuesday.
The Financial Times reported that three women, who were not named, had “accused him and his firm of different forms of exploitation — from alleged sexual assault and sexual harassment by him to a toxic work culture — that have gone unchecked for years.” As a result, Mr. Adjaye resigned as an architectural adviser to the mayor of London and his work on a British Holocaust memorial was put on hold.
The allegations were refuted by Mr. Adjaye in a statement on Tuesday. In a statement issued by the communications and crisis management firm Kendal Advisory, he stated, “I categorically reject any claims of sexual misconduct, abuse, or criminal wrongdoing.” “These allegations are false, upsetting to my family and I, and go against everything I stand for,” the person said.
According to Mr. Adjaye, he is “ashamed to say that I entered into relationships which, though entirely consensual, blurred the boundaries between my professional and personal lives.” He expressed his “sincere regret” for it and promised to “immediately seek professional assistance in order to learn from these mistakes and ensure that they never occur again.”
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A spokeswoman for Kendal Advisory declined to elaborate on what such professional assistance would entail, citing that it was a private matter.
One of the most sought-after architects in the world, Mr. Adjaye rose to prominence with his design for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, located on the National Mall in Washington. His commissions include the national cathedral of Ghana, an African art museum in Nigeria, and an interfaith building in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
To ensure that the charges “do not become a distraction,” Mr. Adjaye also announced in the statement that he was resigning from ceremonial positions and trusteeships.
Mr. Adjaye was added to a panel of 42 design experts by London’s mayor Sadiq Khan in 2012 to help him ensure that “new buildings and public spaces will benefit all Londoners,” according to a news release. He is no longer a member of the panel.
A representative for the mayor stated in an email that “Sir David Adjaye has stepped away from his role as a Design Advocate.”
The British ministry in charge of the London-based U.K. Holocaust Memorial and Learning Center stated in an email that it was “aware of the allegations” and that it had communicated with Mr. Adjaye’s architectural firm. The spokesman stated: “They have verified that Sir David would not participate in the U.K. Holocaust Memorial Foundation initiative until the issues raised have been addressed.
One of the women, according to The Financial Times, said that Mr. Adjaye had sexually attacked her, including in 2019 in a restroom at a Johannesburg airport. According to the report, the woman claimed she sought to file a complaint with Mr. Adjaye’s company but that her worries were disregarded. All of the charges, including the alleged restroom assault, were denied, Mr. Adjaye said in a statement to the newspaper.
In Manhattan’s 130 William, Mr. Adjaye debuted his first residential tower in the country in June. He has also worked on the riverfront master plan for Cleveland, the new Studio Museum in Harlem, and the renovation of the Princeton University Art Museum.
Along with winning prestigious projects, Mr. Adjaye has made a name for himself during the past ten years as a vocal supporter of the rights of groups that are underrepresented in the field of architecture, particularly women. He stated that he finds it “exhausting that women are still fighting for gender parity” in an interview with the online design magazine Dezeen from 2017.
He continued, “This is such an old story, we should be way past this. We’re in the 21st century. As a man, I feel ashamed.
David Adjaye leaves roles following reported allegations of misconduct, according to the New York Times.
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