Both prolific and protean, George A. "Duo" Dickinson identifies as a building architect who writes. His varied accomplishments include awards, books, articles, radio programs, teaching, lectures, exhibitions, and community work.
Dickinson graduated with a bachelor of architecture in the fall of 1977, having completed his coursework in four years, one semester early. He opened his solo architecture practice 30 years ago in southern Connecticut. The firm has completed almost 800 projects with a building ratio of 80%, and Dickinson is proud of the fact that his firm has never laid off an employee and never missed a payroll or mortgage payment. More than one-third of his work starts as pro bono for nonprofit organizations and often finishes for whatever funding is available, including approximately 80 homes for Habitat For Humanity in New Haven, Connecticut.
Dickinson has received more than 40 honors and awards, including Architectural Record's Record House, Met Home, and numerous American Institute of Architects (AIA) chapter design awards. In 2017, he was named an AIA Fellow after being a member for the minimum requisite decade. He is a cofounder of the Congress of Residential Architecture (CORA) and coauthor of its flagship Position Paper presented at the 2009 AIA National Convention.
Dickinson has given more than 100 talks and sat on more than 20 design juries. He has had teaching positions at Yale University and Roger Williams University, as well as being a visiting critic at Yale, and he is on the faculty of Building Beauty, the one-year international first-level master of architecture degree offered at Suor Orsola Benincasa University of Naples, Italy.
The author of eight books, Dickinson's latest, A Home Called New England: A Celebration of Hearth and History, was coauthored with Steve Culpepper. He is a staff writer for the nonprofit Common Edge Collaborative, featured columnist at Mockingbird Ministries, and has written articles for The Hartford Courant and New Haven Register. Dickinson's blog, Saved By Design, has had well over 20,000 hits per year and more than 100,000 visits.
In addition, Dickinson hosts a monthly radio program on WPKN Bridgeport, Connecticut, on topics related to home and family. He helped advise the creation of the magazines Residential Architect and Inspired Home, and has written for more than 60 publications, including Money magazine, This Old House magazine, the Boston Society of Architects, and Better Homes and Gardens. He has created radio series on WNPR and been part of a 15-part feature on CNN's website. Dickinson's work has been selected for display in numerous exhibitions and has been part of an ongoing spoken word series on New Haven architecture in the New Haven Independent.
In Connecticut, Dickinson sits on eight nonprofit boards, including New Haven Preservation Trust, Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, and The Incarnation Center. He was elected to the Episcopal Church governing Mission Council and serves on numerous committees.
"It was a widely overcommitted time," says Dickinson of his student years at Cornell. "Cornell was intellectually diverse with a huge bandwidth of pedagogic, aesthetic, and practical outlooks." Although he spent a great deal of time in Risley Residential College, Dickinson found that AAP's "rigorous ethic of creating good work made for difficult choices concerning expression and academic achievement." As a resident advisor at Risley, Dickinson ran an arts festival, but his involvement went much further. "By dint of effort, I was able to design the Risley Theatre in 1974, was the school's student senator, and one of the few architecture undergraduates with a non-AAP minor, in English, resulting in roughly 1,000,000 published words and 100 published works of architecture."