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  • Writer's picturechaithanya ganesh

How Rhino and Grasshopper is used in computational design?


Grasshopper is a visual programming language that runs within the Rhinoceros 3D computer-aided design application. The program was created by David Rutten at Robert McNeel & Associates. Programs are created by dragging components onto a canvas. The outputs to these components are then connected to the inputs of subsequent components.

Grasshopper is mainly used to build generative algorithms, such as for generative art. Most of Grasshopper's components create 3D geometry. Programs may also contain other types of algorithms including numeric, textual, audio-visual, and haptic applications.


Advanced uses of Grasshopper include parametric modelling for structural engineering, parametric modelling for architecture and fabrication, lighting performance analysis for eco-friendly architecture, and building energy consumption.

Computational design refers to the study and practice of design activities through the application and development of novel ideas and techniques in computing. It is a broad term that encompasses various activities ranging from design generation to task automation.

It allows designers to program the behaviour of a complex architectural system such as the building facades.

Grasshopper is a plugin for Rhinoceros 3D modelling software which gives us a visual interface for building rhythms that generate geometry in Rhino.

These days almost every architect prefers to work with digital enhancement and so it is becoming mandatory that Architects need to know about the software and its working.


Most computational design environments rely on visual programming as opposed to traditional text-based programming.

There are a number of computational design tools and we will be discussing "how Rhino + grasshopper is used for computational design".

Source: wordpress

Grasshopper is plausibly the most popular computational design tool which runs as a plugin on top of Rhinoceros 3D modelling software, and three factors that support the statement are:

1. The flexibility and simplicity of Rhino for a variety of design tasks.

2. The simplicity of grasshopper's visual node-based interface which doesn't require the writing of any code and has a much shallower learning curve than other code-based tools.

3. The openness and flexibility of the Grasshopper platform which has led to a large ecosystem of third-party tools and plugins created to work in Grasshopper.

(Source: medium)


Grasshopper and Rhino provide an easy way to harness the power of computation in a design process without actually having to learn to code.