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Architect David Adjaye Accused Of Sexual Misconduct, Steps Down From Projects

Ghanaian British architect David Adjaye has stepped back from external roles and at least one major project due to sexual assault allegations brought against him by three former employees.

David Adjaye at the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in 2017.

The Financial Times reported Monday that Adjaye allegedly engaged in sexual misconduct with employees in 2018 and 2019 while working on projects. Adjaye and his firm are accused 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,” the FT said.

Adjaye denied the accusations and told the FT his relationships with the women were consensual.

This week, Multnomah County Public Library in Oregon confirmed having cut ties with the firm. The library didn’t provide a reason, though a representative for Adjaye told Bisnow after publication that decision was made prior to the allegations becoming private. 

Adjaye has also temporarily stepped back personally from the UK’s upcoming Holocaust memorial project, though the representative said work is continuing through Adjaye Associates’ London office.

Adjaye has been removed or stepped down from a variety of external roles as well, including resigning as an architectural adviser to the mayor of London.

The accusations came from three former employees of Adjaye Associates. Two of the women, who moved to Ghana with their families to help open an Accra office of the firm, were meeting together with Adjaye to discuss lack of payment when the alleged assault took place. The third told FT Adjaye made sexual advances toward her in 2019 at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts after offering to consult with her on future projects. 

“I absolutely reject any claims of sexual misconduct, abuse or criminal wrongdoing,” Adjaye told the FT. “These allegations are untrue, distressing for me and my family and run counter to everything I stand for. 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.”

Adjaye is known for designing prominent buildings such as the National Museum of African American History and Culture and Georgetown West Heating Plant in Washington, D.C.

The firm has also been commissioned to design Ghana’s national cathedral and an African art museum in Nigeria.

CORRECTION, JULY 6, 11:14 A.M. ET: A previous version of this story mischaracterized Adjaye’s step back from the Holocaust Museum project — though Adjaye himself is no longer involved, the firm still is. A representative of Adjaye also said the Oregon library project relationship was terminated prior to allegations coming to light, and that context has been added.