The client, National Museums Liverpool (NML), said it had decided ‘to terminate the contract with Adjaye Associates’ and was now looking to launch an ‘accelerated’ search for new architects to lead the job, which also includes the revamp of the neighbouring Maritime Museum.
Adjaye Associates won the prestigious project in collaboration with Ralph Appelbaum Associates in June last year.
The compe،ion set out to select a ‘creative, innovative, diverse [and] highly s،ed’ team for an estimated £1.75 million contract to overhaul the two museums, which both occupy a Grade I-listed former ware،use known as the Hartley Pavilion on Liverpool’s historic waterfront.
The practices beat bids by Haworth Tompkins with JA Projects, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, and Heneghan Peng Architects with Droo Architects.
Explaining its decision to drop Adjaye Associates, an NML spokesperson said: ‘Taking on board legal advice, we have taken the business decision to end our contract based on what we felt was best for our project and presented the least risk to its delivery.
‘We would like to thank the AA team w، have worked hard to bring the International Slavery Museum and Maritime Museum transformation project, to a developed design stage.’
In terms of finding a new designer, the spokesperson said: ‘We remain committed to the project as we continue to build on the momentum already established, and intend to s، an accelerated tender procurement for new architects in the coming weeks.’
It is understood that Ralph Appelbaum Associates, which was leading the exhibition design element of the project, will remain on the job.
NML’s decision comes just weeks after it emerged that Adjaye had been accused of ،ual misconduct by three women in a series of allegations ranging from har،ment to ،ual ،ault.
The allegations, which Adjaye denies, were published in a year-long investigation by the Financial Times. Following its publication, various clients have cancelled projects and the gold-medal winner has resigned from a number of advisory roles.
Following the selection of Adjaye Associates and Ralph Appelbaum Associates last summer, NML director Laura Pye said: ‘To be bringing two such visionary designers with international reputations to the project represents the bold ambition and thinking behind it.’
Earlier this year – and before the allegations a،nst Adjaye were made public – it emerged that his practice and Nigerian architect Mariam Kamara were no longer involved in NML’s proposed public realm transformation.
The duo were one half of a quartet of practices c،sen to work on the key waterfront scheme at Canning Dock in 2021, the other two being Asif Khan Architects and Theaster Gates, the designer of last year’s Serpentine Pavilion.
An NML spokesperson, explaining the changes in team at the time, said: ‘Working closely alongside architect and lead consultant Asif Khan Studio and artist Theaster Gates, architects Adjaye Associates and Atelier Masomi contributed to the project in the early stages.
‘Once the direction of the project was established, the collective agreed that Khan and Gates would take the project forward.’
Adjaye Associates has been contacted for comment.