RIBA Gold Medal winner also dropped from Oregon museum project and steps back from role as a design advocate for Sadiq Khan

David Adjaye in Winter Park Florida

Source: City of Winter Park

David Adjaye

David Adjaye has stepped down as a design advocate for the mayor of London and his role in the design of the UK Holocaust Museum has reportedly been suspended.

The Adjaye Associates founder has also stepped away from a number of ceremonial roles including his association with architecture school the African Futures Institute (AFI), founded by 2023 Venice Biennale curator Lesley Lokko.

His decision to relinquish the roles came a day after the Financial Times published allegations against the architect of sexual misconduct towards three women, which Adjaye denies.

The 2021 RIBA Gold Medal winner was among 42 experts appointed by London mayor Sadiq Khan in 2022, including Farshid Moussavi and David Chipperfield, to advise on and critique London’s built environment

A spokesperson for the mayor of London, said: “Sir David Adjaye has stepped away from his role as a design advocate.”

Adjaye was working with Israeli architect Ron Arad on the Holocaust Memorial, intended for a site in Victoria Tower Gardens, south of the Houses of Parliament, 

A spokesperson for the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, which is overseeing the project, told the New York Times that Adjaye Associates had confirmed that Adjaye will not be working on the project “until the issues raised have been addressed”.

> Also read: David Adjaye ‘absolutely rejects’ claims of sexual misconduct against three women

Lokko said following Adjaye’s decision to step away from his role at the AFI: “I have known David Adjaye over the past twenty-five years and, from the sidelines, admired his professional output and his unwavering commitment to putting African architecture and architects at the forefront of global industry.”

She added: “Although we work in different fields, his support for the African Futures Institute, which I founded in 2021, has been constant.

“I am very grateful for the encouragement he has given the AFI since its inception. He was one of the first to come forward and to believe in it. 

“It is with regret that I received his letter outlining the need to step away from his formal association with the AFI until the matters with which he is currently dealing are resolved.”

Adjaye’s involvement in a building for the Multnomah County Library in Portland, Oregon has also been suspended following the allegations, according to local newspaper The Oregonian.

“Adjaye Associates is no longer associated with Multnomah County and the East County Library project,” a library spokesperson told the newspaper.

“Holst Architecture has been and remains the prime architect of record for the building, which will continue through design and construction as planned. The County declines to comment further.”

The architect said this week he was “deeply sorry” to have entered relationships with the three women, who were employed at his practice at the time, but rejected claims of alleged sexual misconduct.

He added that he was “ashamed” to have entered relationships with the women and was seeking immediate professional help in order to “learn from these mistakes”.

A statement to the Financial Times by a lawyer on behalf of Adjaye said: “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.”

The claims included an alleged assault in a disabled toilet in an airport in Johannesburg and an incident in London’s Royal Academy of Arts.

The report claims two women who worked for Adjaye in the architect’s Accra office were dismissed after being “coerced” into engaging in sexual activity with him, an allegation which Adjaye strongly denies.

It also alleges controlling behaviour by Adjaye towards an employee in London, which the Financial Times claims included instructions on what to wear and disparaging comments towards dark-skinned black women.

Adjaye’s lawyer said he “rejects entirely” the claims about his attitudes towards black women and the suggestion that his behaviour was “belittling”.

Adjaye has been contacted for comment.