After charges of sexual harassment or assault were made against him by three former workers who asked not to be named in the Financial Times, prominent architect David Adjaye resigned from many jobs and planned projects. The allegations were made public by the newspaper.
The Ghanaian-British architect has resigned from many architectural projects, one of which being the new Holocaust Memorial in the United Kingdom. Additionally, he has severed all links with his business, Adjaye Associates, which was announced by a public library in Oregon. Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, asked him to step down from his advising role.
The women's accusations, which were published on Tuesday, are about acts of misbehavior that they claim occurred in 2018 and 2019. Adjaye denies them in a statement to the Financial Times and CNN, saying:
I absolutely reject any claims of sexual misconduct, abuse or criminal wrongdoing. These allegations are untrue, distressing for me and my family and run counter to everything I stand for.- Sir David Adjaye
I am ashamed to say that I entered into relationships which though entirely consensual, blurred the boundaries between my professional and personal lives. I am deeply sorry. To restore trust and accountability, I will be immediately seeking professional help in order to learn from these mistakes to ensure that they never happen again.- Sir David Adjaye
In 2018 or 2019, the three women bringing the claims against Adjaye either worked for or were contracted to his architectural firm. The business was established in 2000 and currently has offices in London, New York, and Accra, Ghana.
In interviews with the Financial Times, they said that their interactions with Adjaye had harmed their careers, caused financial difficulties, and caused them mental suffering.
Adjaye informed the New York Times that he was stepping down from ceremonial duties and trusteeships to avoid the claims becoming "a distraction," but his officials did not answer to CNN's request for confirmation.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture
A spokesperson for London's Mayor told CNN that the architect had "stepped away" from his work as a "Design Advocate," a role he took on in 2017. Adjaye also "stepped away from his responsibilities and formal association with Serpentine as a Trustee," a spokesperson for the Serpentine Galleries in London told CNN in a statement on Tuesday:
We have accepted his resignationwith immediate effect.- A spokesperson for London's Mayor
According to a British Government spokeswoman, Adjaye Associates advised the country's Department of Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities that the architect "will not be involved" in the UK's upcoming Holocaust Memorial "until the issues raised have been addressed."
The monument and learning center's design was released by the architecture company in 2017, but the project is currently pending parliamentary clearance. A representative for National Museums Liverpool, the company for which Adjaye Associates was contracted to renovate the city's International Slavery Museum and Maritime Museum, said CNN in a statement that they:
became aware of these allegations on 4 July as a result of the report published by the Financial Times. We are currently unable to make any further comment but take the allegations described very seriously.- A representative for National Museums Liverpool
In the United States, a Multnomah County Library representative informed CNN that Adjaye Associates "is no longer associated with Multnomah County and the East County Library project," a future 95,000-square-foot structure co-designed by the company.
Holst Architecture has been and remains the prime architect of record for the building, which will continue through design and construction as planned.- A Multnomah County Library representative
Tom Denenberg, CEO and Director of the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont, stated in a statement to CNN:
In light of the serious and troubling allegations reported against David Adjaye, we are actively reviewing our engagement with the architect and his firm.- Tom Denenberg
The Museum had commissioned Adjaye Associates to create the Perry Center for Native American Art.
Our evaluation places in the fore our immediate commitment to construction of a building and integrated landscape collaboratively designed to create a national resource for the study and care of Indigenous art. Because we are in the earliest stages of design, we have time to consider our next steps to keep this important project on track and honor our commitment to the many partners and collaborators who have been involved in the conceptualization of this important project.- Tom Denenberg
In a statement, The Trustees, the organization in charge of the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts, where Adjaye was scheduled to exhibit his 2021 sculptural work "Asaase" this fall, said that in light of recent, serious allegations, The Trustees is placing our project with David Adjaye on indefinite hold.
CNN also reached out to representatives for Adjaye Associates-designed buildings and commissions around the world, including the Batsheva Arts Center in Tel Aviv, Israel, the Thabo Mbeki Presidential Library in Johannesburg, South Africa, and the Barbados Heritage District in Bridgeton, Barbados, among others, but received no response as of publication.
Adjaye is a world-renowned architect who developed major structures such as the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC, which opened in 2016.
He was knighted in 2017 for his contributions to the sector, having already received an OBE, and in 2021 became the first Black architect to be granted the Royal Gold Medal by the Royal Institute of British Architects.
His company recently debuted its first tower in Manhattan. Its current projects include the aforementioned International Slavery Museum and Batsheva Arts Center redevelopments, as well as the construction of the National Cathedral of Ghana, the King Salman Park Visitor Center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and the Quayside waterfront development in Toronto, Canada.