Following misconduct allegations made public in The New York Times last week, AIA New York (AIANY) has opted to rescind its 2018 Design Awards from Richard Meier, FAIA, and Peter Marino, FAIA. Meier was going to be recognized with an Architecture Merit Award for his firm's work on the Leblon Offices in Rio de Janeiro and Marino was slated to be awarded an Interior Merit prize for his eponymous firm's work on the Lobster Club in New York City.
In a statement released yesterday, the organization's executive director Benjamin Prosky, Assoc. AIA, explained that though the "decision does not speak to the design quality of the projects or the contributions from the respective firms’ design teams ... we cannot in good conscience confer these awards under these circumstances," referring to accusations of sexual harassment by Meier and multiple pending and settled lawsuits that cite sexual harassment and racist behavior by Marino.
Marino's firm provided a response to the decision to Curbed, writing:
Peter Marino Architect (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 honored. 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.
Since the news of Meier's alleged misconduct, Sotheby's opted to close an exhibition of the architect's work early, and Cornell University's College of Architecture, Art, and Planning canceled plans to rename the chair of the architecture department after Meier. This is the first major award of Meier's that has been rescinded due to the allegations.
Read the complete AIANY statement below:
AIANY holds itself as an organization, as well as our members, to the highest standard of integrity, ethics and decency, and we view any breach of that standard as completely unacceptable. Therefore, given allegations of inappropriate and unacceptable behavior by two AIANY 2018 Design Award Recipients—Richard Meier, FAIA, and Peter Marino, FAIA—the AIANY Board of Directors has made the decision to rescind the honors 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.
As the leading professional organization for architects, we encourage members to speak freely about concerns and issues, and therefore are providing our members with additional resources and support to address any and all alleged harassment within our community. We will be offering workshops on creating harassment free workplaces in the coming weeks. We will be lobbying for updates to official AIA policies and procedures to make it explicit that harassment is unacceptable. Finally, we encourage our members to use LegalLine, a service that provides access and advice for legal issues.