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Four big names fight it out in Newham marshes

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The four architects fighting it out in a competition to stop the rot on one of Europe's biggest development sites, 400ha of marshes and derelict factories, go public next week.

Pringle Richards Sharratt Architects, mgm Arquitectes, Patel Taylor Architects and Arup Associates are looking at land in Newham, opposite the Millennium Dome. The riverfront plot stretches from Stratford, along the Lee Valley to the Thameside area. Each practice has proposed ideas and homed in on individual patches for the competition, London's Arc of Opportunity.

Pringle Richards Sharratt Architects' scheme (below) aims to both tame Canning Town traffic by turning a big roundabout into a civic centre, said director Penny Richards, and drain parts of the River Lee for waterfront homes.

mbm Arquitectes' proposal is a cluster of hamlets for 18,000 homes, most of which will be for one or two people. Its 100ha patch will be turned into river heathland with learning centre and offices, said the firm's David Mackay.

Patel Taylor Architects, working with Ove Arup & Partners, has created a new Amsterdam-style quarter with four- to six-floor waterfront homes and a big oval park. High-density 17- to 30-storey mixed-use buildings are further south. Arup Associates' scheme involves enlarging water areas, planting an urban wood and parkland.

The four firms beat Richard Rogers Partnership, Allies and Morrison Architects, Terry Farrell & Partners, Enric Miralles, Alsop & Stormer, East Architects and Aukett Associates. The competition organisers, Newham council and English Partnerships, want development of the land to benefit locals. Newham is one of the poorest areas of London, but the land, close to the new Jubilee Line Extension, expanded City Airport and M11 link, is ripe for development.

Regeneration and planning minister Richard Caborn will unveil the designs on 23 March at London's British Academy at Carlton House Terrace. A panel including the lse's Ricky Burdett, writer Deyan Sudjic and Richard MacCormac will choose a winner on 31 March. The project is meant to tie in with the Architecture Foundation's roadshow in the area, which chose five sites two weeks ago.

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