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John Margolies, Photographer of Quirky Roadside Architecture, Dies at 76

Vernacular architecture's patron saint

If you've ever seen a faded color photograph of a donut shop shaped as a, well, donut, or a building shaped as a teepee, ice cream cone, or a hot dog, chances are you've encountered the work of photographer John Margolies.

Margolies, who died on May 26 at the age of 76, started capturing America's dying, quirky midcentury "vernacular architecture" in the 1970s through thousands and thousands of photographs and over a dozen books.

Born on May 16, 1940 in New Canaan, Connecticut, Margolies attended the University of Pennsylvania, studying art history and journalism as an undergraduate, and communications as a graduate student. He then went on to become an editor at Architectural Record magazine and program director at the Architectural League of New York.

Margolies was a tireless cataloguer and historian, and without him, some of America's greatest, kitschiest, most whimsical architecture would have been forgotten. Do check out the full obituary at the New York Times, and a selection of his work below.