Future of Holocaust memorial in doubt after designer dropped over abuse allegations

Three women who worked for architect David Adjaye have accused him of sexual assault


LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 12: Sir David Adjaye poses after he was Knighted by the Duke of Cambridge during an Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace on May 12, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Jonathan Brady - WPA Pool / Getty Images)

The future of the Westminster Holocaust memorial is in doubt after its lead designer was forced to quit following accusations of sexual misconduct.

Sir David Adjaye, the architect behind the monument, was forced to stand down after the accusations by three employees at his firm Adjaye Associates. The staff claimed that they had been left in emotional distress after sexual abuse and harassment by Sir David, 56, one Britain’s most highly regarded architects.

This week he apologised after admitting he had started relationships with the former employees but denied abuse.

In a statement, he said: “I am ashamed to say that I entered into relationships which, though entirely consensual, blurred the boundaries between my professional and personal lives.”

Following the statement Sir David, whose firm was commissioned to design the national monument in 2017, was removed from his role in the project by government ministers.

Lord Pickles, the government’s Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust issues, told the JC that “it was not appropriate for David to be involved at this time”. He added: “The government has had to swiftly act.”

However, the peer stressed the progress of the memorial would not be impacted.

The costs for the scheme have risen by more than £36 million in the last year, bringing the total to £139 million.

Ministers initially budgeted £50 million for the project, but the government has admitted costs have “risen significantly” due to delays in securing planning permission after a High Court case by campaigners.

An accounting officer’s report on the project said the monument continued to represent value for money but that “further delays may still attract criticism as there will be a diminishing number of Holocaust survivors to see the opening”.

Gary Mond, chairman of the National Jewish Assembly, said: “It is not a good use of public funds. The increasing costs strengthen the case for a combined Holocaust memorial and new Jewish Museum.”

A Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities spokesperson said: “We are aware of the allegations and have spoken with Adjaye Associates. They have confirmed that Sir David will not be involved in the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation project until the issues raised have been addressed.”

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