Gropius House

William Wainwright Sculpture

William Wainwright studied under Mies van der Rohe in Chicago and was an admirer of Walter Gropius.

This small piece given to Walter Gropius at a dinner party in Cambridge as a “friendly, frivolous gift.” The snapdragon with the bow tie and radiating spokes suggested that Gropius was at the center of the design world.

William Wainwright (1924-2012) was often called a 20th century “renaissance artist,” applying his professional training in both architecture and engineering to create complex and innovative mobile sculptures. Besides his creative contribution to art, he holds two U.S. patents. Wainwright studied at Purdue University, Cornell, the Institute of Design in Chicago, and M.I.T. He taught architecture at Harvard Graduate School of Design for a number of years and his sculptures have been exhibited in numerous technological and art venues alike.

He contributed to public art in Cambridge with two well-known works. His “Lights at the End of the Tunnel” mobile for many years animated the Porter Square T Station, while his kinetic “Never Green Tree” sculpture still scintillates near the Cambridgeside Galleria.