Why Doesn’t Architecture Care About Sexual Harassment?

Richard Meier
Richard Meier, photographed in March. Photo: © George Etheredge for The New York Times
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Seven months ago, I came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against the architect Richard Meier. I shared my experience as a 21-year-old woman at his namesake firm — my first job out of college. I was standing inside the lobby of his home when I saw Mr. Meier looming over me from his balcony, his penis hanging out of his open bathrobe. I felt shock, fear and trepidation. But in the days and weeks to follow, these feelings reverted to disbelief: What was he thinking?

Like many women before and after me, I simply moved on. I attended graduate school to study architecture and finished with honors. I worked for other well-known studios, became a licensed architect, joined the American Institute of Architects and co-founded my own practice: a woman-, minority-, and L.G.B.T.-owned award-winning architecture studio.

I have often thought that this would be my contribution to the profession and the future of women within it: the creation of my own work space, in which diversity and respect are supported — to lead by example.

Yet over the past year, as women across a number of industries have told their stories of abuse by powerful men and complicit workplaces, this dormant trauma began to stir.

When I first recounted my story to a reporter from The Times, the fear and rage came flooding back to me. I had hidden behind humor to tell this story to close friends in the past, but without this foil, I was stuck with telling the story in earnest, exactly as I remembered it, and all I was left with was the visceral horror of that moment. […]

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