Margate writer and artist helps select region’s best buildings for annual awards

Dan Thompson

A Margate writer and artist has been involved in selecting the region’s best new buildings, which were announced by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) this week.

Dan Thompson, who writes about local history and the arts for The Isle of Thanet News, joined the RIBA South East Awards jury as the Lay Assessor. While the rest of the jury is made up of architects, the Lay Assessor brings a different perspective to the process. Together, the jury reduced over 40 nominated buildings to a shortlist of 18.

From that shortlist awards were given to buildings including Walmer Castle’s new learning centre, the Fitted Rigging House at Chatham Historic Dockyard, and two buildings that make up the international college at King’s School, Canterbury.

One of those, the Malthouse Theatre, won the region’s Building of the Year accolade, and the Fitted Rigging House won the Sustainability Award for the area.

Further afield, buildings included private homes (including an eccentric modern take on Kent’s traditional oast house), a large block of retirement apartments, and a set of rural homes for  people living with autism.

Dan joined the jury early in 2020 and was due to visit all the shortlisted buildings a week after the first lockdown came into force. Due to Covid, judging for the 2020 RIBA UK Awards was postponed to 2021, with only one jury member visiting each building.

This year’s Regional Award winners will be considered for a RIBA National Award in recognition of their architectural excellence. The shortlist for the RIBA Stirling Prize, the best new building of the year, will be drawn from the RIBA National Award winning buildings.

To see the complete RIBA South East Awards list, visit