GRAPHISOFT adds Generative Design with Rhino-Grasshopper Connection
Laura Pei posted on September 28, 2015 |

GRAPHISOFT recently announced a public beta version of a new Rhino-Grasshopper-ARCHICAD connection.

GRAPHISOFT is one of the leading developers of building information modeling (BIM) software for architects and designers. This new relationship is meant to fill a gap in the design process between early-stage design and BIM.

Rhino, widely used for industrial design, allows free-form modeling at any level of size and complexity.

Grasshopper is a graphical algorithm editor that is thoroughly integrated with Rhino's 3D modeling tools. Using Grasshopper, designers can build form generators with little or no programming skills.

Grasshopper lets the user design form algorithms without programming experience. Image courtesy of GRAPHISOFT.
Grasshopper lets the user design form algorithms without programming experience. Image courtesy of GRAPHISOFT.

ARCHICAD, first released in 1984, was the industry's first BIM software for architects, and it continues to have a major presence in the industry.

GRAPHISOFT's new bidirectional "real-time" connection is claimed to be an industry first as well. The Rhino-Grasshopper-ARCHICAD alliance lets architects and designers use Grasshopper's algorithmic design tool with ARCHICAD BIM software using a unique iterative design workflow.

This design workflow stands out in its ability to help the user easily explore a large number of design variations. The user can create and fine-tune building details using algorithms without having to manually iterate and exchange files.

The new connection capitalizes on the existing link between Rhino and Grasshopper. The tool includes several new features that better integrate ARCHICAD with the other two applications.

New import and export tools let ARCHICAD read Rhino's native 3DM format. This way, the user can generate a "reference model" workflow between the two applications using Rhino's 3DM format. Model transfer between Rhino and ARCHICAD is also simplified. The geometry of an ARCHICAD model can be moved to Rhino. Rhino-created models can be imported into ARCHICAD.

The new connection integrates the strengths of all three applications. Image courtesy of GRAPHISOFT.
The new connection integrates the strengths of all three applications. Image courtesy of GRAPHISOFT.

The new tool also automatically converts Rhino and Grasshopper-constructed geometries into BIM construction elements using Grasshopper's interface. This live connection can apply the visual algorithm editing of Grasshopper to ARCHICAD construction elements.

A new dynamic link allows the algorithm design script to reference any elements (from basic geometric shapes to full BIM components) from any of the three work environments. These add-ons let the user take advantage of the strengths of each individual application at any design stage.

Whereas BIM is normally not beneficial until building elements have been assembled, the Rhino-Grasshopper-ARCHICAD association lets users benefit from BIM at an earlier design stage. By using the connection, BIM can be used before building elements are differentiated. The new tool integrates the traditional design process with a computational design approach. With this, GRAPHISOFT hopes to make BIM a more versatile design tool for architects.

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