He got technical study (four years) at the University of Wisconsin, finished at 1894.
In 1894 entered the Chicago office of the late J. C. Llewelyn. After remaining there several years, gaining experience in school design and industrial planning, in 1900 he won the first Traveling Scholarship of the Chicago Architectural Sketch Club, affording the young man the privilege of a year of travel and study in England and Central Enrope.
Upon his return to Chicago Mr. Dunning opened an architectural office in the city and continued independent practice until 1933 when he moved to Washington, D. C., to enter Government service. He planned several important structures in Chicago including the American Book Company Building in 1912; the 14th Church of Christ Scientist, 1920 and the Immanuel Baptist Church, 1923; while his outstanding achievement in architecture was the huge Furniture Mart on which he was associated with Henry Raeder. Also he designed the City Hospital at Kenosha, Wis., and the Winston Hotel in Cleveland.
During the first World War Mr. Dunning was appointed to the U. S. Housing Corporation, and under President Hoover served on the Emergency Commission on Unemployment. Called to Washington by President Roosevelt he served as Advisor to the R. F. C. in 1933; Assistant-Director of Housing, P. W. A. 1934; Assistant in the Procurement Division of the Treasury Department, 1935; Assistant-Commissioner of Buildings of the P.W.A. 1939, and finally Assistant Advisor to the Public Buildings Administration under W. E. Reynolds, a position he held at the time of his death.
Prominent in his chosen profession, Mr. Dunning was elected a member of the Chicago Chapter, A. I. A. in 1915 and advanced to Institute Fellowship four years later. For three successive years he served on the National Board of Directors, and in 1924 was elected to the office of Vice-president of the Institute. Earlier in his career he helped organize the Architectural League of America and was chosen its first president.