At the recent Prototypes For Humanity event in Dubai, the Alumni of the Master in Advanced Architecture presented their Digital Matter Studio project from the previous year, titled ‘Urban Cascade: Reimagining Food Production through Bio-Based Water Treatment Infrastructure’.

Prototypes For Humanity

Urban Cascade aims to change the relation between food production, water management and communities, and start seeing water as abundance, not scarcity by creating a self sufficient landscape infrastructure, that improves the built environment through designs inspired by nature, and that takes advantage of novel solutions regarding greywater treatment, upcycled bio-based materials, and computational design optimization. A space where we can harvest food, energy, water and most importantly, community.

Innovative methods of food production, like urban agriculture and vertical farms, are emerging to bring production closer to consumers, addressing concerns such as cost reduction, lower gas emissions in logistics, improved microclimates, enhanced food security, and strengthened community bonds. Despite these advancements, water supply remains a challenge. Studies highlight the potential of utilizing household greywater—derived from sinks, showers, and laundries—for irrigation. However, greywater contains both beneficial elements, like nitrates and phosphates, and harmful ones. To address this, Urban Cascade proposes an integrated system employing chitosan as an initial filtration step followed by constructed wetlands. Read more about the project.


Urban Cascade is a project of IAAC, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia developed during the Master in Advanced Architecture (MAA01) 2022/23 by the students: Miti Shah, Vishesh Narola, Yasmin Jaskulski and Junaid Ahmed Khan. Faculty: Areti Markopoulou, Nikol Kirova.

About Prototypes For Humanity

Prototypes for Humanity, an initiative by the Art Dubai Group, is a dynamic platform fostering global innovation. With a mission to address pressing issues, it brings together graduate projects that offer unique solutions to complex challenges. This annual gathering unites key stakeholders—graduates, professors, and leaders from government, corporates, and entrepreneurial spheres—to catalyze impactful change. Held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in collaboration with Dubai Future Foundation and Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, and supported by Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), it embodies academic innovation and strategic partnerships for real-world impact.

About the Master in Advanced Architecture

The Master in Advanced Architecture is a unique programme that focuses on training architects, designers and engineers, acquiring multidisciplinary skills, to practice radical architecture that creates positive cultural, environmental and social impact.


Apply to the Master in Advanced Architecture today, the second Application Period for the Academic Year 2024/25 is now open.