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Architectural firms chosen in NY Rockaways contest

NEW YORK (AP) -- Architectural firms from New York, Toronto, London and Sweden have been chosen as finalists in a contest to help develop an 80-acre storm-resilient site in the Rockaways.

Their proposals were chosen from among 117 submissions from designers in more than 20 countries. The contest was carried out by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development and several development partners, according to a release Thursday.

The four firms will each receive $30,000 to develop proposals for a mixed-use, mixed-income, sustainable and storm-resilient community known as Arverne East. The city-owned site is in a beachfront area of the Rockaways that flooded during Superstorm Sandy last year.

The proposals must meet physical and regulatory challenges of waterfront development in the post-Sandy era in a contest meant to encourage ideas for handling challenges of development in flood-prone areas.

Department Commissioner Mathew Wambua praised the entries.

"Hurricane Sandy did not back us away from the waterfront and its development, but the intensity of the storm and the terrible damage we all saw the day after reminded us that intelligent shorefront design is essential to our future," he said in a release.

"This is a great starting point and I look forward to the next iteration of the finalists' concepts. These ideas have the potential to not only guide development and protect property, but most important of all, they could save lives," Wambua said.

The winners were identified as Ennead Architects, a New York-based firm; Lateral Office, a Toronto-based experimental design practice; Seeding Office, a London-based architectural practice; and White Arkitekter, a Goteborg, Sweden-based firm and the largest architectural practice in Scandinavia.

The next stage of the competition requires submissions by Oct. 7. The winner will receive another $30,000.