...who uses Grasshopper extensively on their offices in the first place?


I am just at awe at how architectural schools have detached themselves from reality even more by offering more degrees focusing  their energies on mastering Digital Design TOO MUCH as if it encompasses the majority of our profession in the real world. Don't get me wrong but I am a fan of Parametricism, Grasshopper etc... But as an architect who had worked on real project for years, projects that would demand extensive geometric calculations do come once in a while.

I am curious--- how many of us do actually use Grasshopper, Galapagos, Rabbit etc. as their main tool on their jobs? which firms uses these? 

Jun 21, 13 3:35 am

We (1000+ employee firm) use it a fair bit ... much more and more as time goes on. The ability to combine Galapagos with Diva makes it worth doing for environmental site planning studies. I've started using Grasshopper exclusively for tower form and cladding development.

Having said that, Rhino+parametrics is mostly valuable as a form study and development tool. Beyond that, there are better ways to go.

Jun 21, 13 12:51 pm

used it a lot at SOM

Jun 21, 13 2:29 pm

We use these tools extensively at SOM.  At a basic level, most designers here are capable of working with grasshopper and other parametric tools.  We also have a digital design group -- architects within the firm that are experts at various aspects of digital design process.  To hazard a guess, I'd say that more than half to three-quarters of our Architecture projects (ie, not interiors or urban design), utilize parametric tools and processes.

Jun 21, 13 2:37 pm

well there you go.

Jun 21, 13 2:37 pm

were a small office and have dabbled in it a bit, but my friends with larger firms use it regularly.  even the 55 year old principals can and do use it.  didn't know it was controversial...

Jun 22, 13 1:32 am

the office i work in here in Germany started to use it, and is looking to use more. we work with stadiums so it can be really useful

Jun 22, 13 4:55 am

Where I work people don't even know what Grasshopper is. 

Jun 22, 13 8:57 am

They think its a bug...

Jun 22, 13 8:58 am

I prefer margaritas.

Jun 22, 13 2:56 pm

The first office I worked at used it extensively. In fact I'd say it was absolutely critical for the types of projects they were doing. last and now current offices however don't even use rhino (basically, the only 3d they're using is for visualizations).

All three offices were profitable and in different ways successful. So I wouldn't create such strong divisions where they don't necessarily exist. Parametricism is a very real aspect to the work of many "real-world" firms and my grasshopper-expert friends who are gainfully employed by SOM, Foster, Arup, and the like are a testament to that. 

Also, are schools really over-emphasiszing parametric design? In neither my bachelor nor masters, was this even a part of the curriculum. Sure, there are obviously schools which focus on digital tools and processes, but I'd hardly say it's become the norm. My own educational history alone refutes that.

Jun 22, 13 4:19 pm

One of my classmates got hired by SHoP because of his grasshopper skills.

Jun 26, 13 7:17 am

my office uses it extensively, and its implementation is only increasing here as more people in the office learn to use it.  It's actually growing organically here from team to team as everyone sees how useful it is for early stages of new work.  We crank out massing studies that can give us accurate area calculations that can be manipulated on the fly to account for different uses, or to establish base geometries for 2d drawings... 


Parametric modeling is not just for blob buildings... it is a far more efficient way to work even in rectilinear buildings... consider the simple problem of a mixed use tower for instance.  You know the program, you know the FAR and  basic floor plate size, you have a general concept of the form.  Rather than drawing multiple sections of varying sizes to get the areas right by trial and error, you can refine the form on the fly and get area calcs each step of the way... that kind of stuff just can not be done as quickly and as accurately in any other type of program i know...

Jun 26, 13 10:13 am

Question A:

does anyone use dynamo with vasari or revit?  I am very encouraged to hear that people are using grasshopper extensively in standard practice.  i love grasshopper, and as lletdownl notes, for all work...

but there is that part of me that wonders if the same fear of incompatibility that keeps so many religiously tied to autodesk products will mean that ultimately, dynamo and vasari win out. 

Question B:

Has anyone tried the Visual Arq BIM components plugin for grasshopper and if so, what do you think?  I'm very excited about this and have played with it a little bit but I have not used it on a real project.

Jun 26, 13 12:06 pm

... thanks for the replies. so this would bring up another question? would you go through seminars and workshops and spend $$$ for grasshopper courses. is it worth the investment?

Jul 3, 13 2:52 am

answers are impressive.

i think i need to start learning Grasshoppper

but really don't know where to start.

Jul 4, 13 9:52 am

Here's a good place to start: digitaltoolbox

Jul 4, 13 9:58 am

free and good looking.

thank you anonitect.

Jul 4, 13 10:16 am

Professionally I've only seen Acadd, Revit, Photoshop, Sketchup, some3dmax, physical model building a lot. I learned Rhino about a decade ago and is just now breaking ground its a nice tool and with grasshopper, is probably going to be a staple in about 6 years time.   As we get more and more recent grads I think rhino will play a larger role, right now the recent grads prefer Sketchup.  Going back to your initial post, yes there is a lot more complex activity, that we should master other than computer technology, if we want to be really knowledgeable architects. not to mention running your own shop one day.  There are architects that make a career out of doing only these things and there's nothing wrong with that to each his own as they say. 

   I do know of some big corporations that are just now using revit, i think the more resources and depending on the markets served, arch offices are just now seeing the benefits of using Revit.  the client is the real driver.

Jul 6, 13 11:36 am

ps. right now my office does not use rhino.

Jul 6, 13 12:08 pm

... so, how do you transition your grasshopper designs to design development drawings? eg. Autocad, revit

Jul 8, 13 12:49 am

Grasshopper is used in our office as a generator of base geometries.  So, for instance, we recently completed a project whos facade was curved both the x and y axis.  We used grasshopper to refine this compound geometry in order to hit our overall and individual floor area targets.  We use this form generated in grasshopper to create base geometries for all our working drawings.  When we handed this project off to the office who was to create the CD's, we gave them the model generated in grasshopper with specific work points for each facade module from which they could generate construction drawings...

So... from concept (area studies, massing studies) to schematic(settled on basic form, refine it to meet specific targets) to construction (grasshopper generated rhino model with specific work points x,y,z for each facade module) the grasshopper model served as the foundation for virtually all work.

Jul 8, 13 10:57 am

Lletdownl, Do you use rhino's worksessions?

Jul 8, 13 11:18 am

When we handed this project off to the office who was to create the CD's


so... who assumes liability in this relationship?  how much does the design change after being "handed off" to the people who actually stamp the drawings?

Jul 8, 13 11:18 am

they key is what recent grads know - I am finding they are very proficient with performing concept and schematic design with Grasshopper/Rhino. While Revit is very good at many of these things, it is not known for them and that's the problem. Too many think you can't do conceptual design with Revit and therefore prefer Rhino. That being said, one should be proficient in Grasshopper, Rhino + Revit. 

Jul 8, 13 11:38 am


- we haven't need worksessions yet as far as i know



-for the project im describing, we were contracted for concept through an extended design development phase.  We then hand the project off to a local office who produces the construction drawings.  This is a job in china, and the concept-DD arrangement is a very common for our office.  We take up a monitoring roll in the CD phase, checking drawings to ensure our design intent is maintained.  The project i described where we handed off a rhino model is a 1st for us.  However, i do believe that the grasshopper model was submitted formally to be the basis for all further development by contractors and local architects alike. 

Jul 8, 13 11:58 am

this discussion is very interesting for me b/c since the official rhino 5 was released last fall, i continue to be pleasantly surprised at how stable it is, the size of models that run smoothly in it, how stable grasshopper is and the size models that run smoothly in it, and also how well-designed the improvements are, including to worksessions and drafting ... and b/c so many bim tools are available now in rhino and grasshopper ... even if they are works in progress, some are very good.

rhino does not do everything revit or archicad does...but it probably does a legitimate 80%+ ... and arguably all of the essentials ... and also does a lot that they cannot ... and is fast and easy and cheap and the licensing policies are much more favorable for the user ... which all has me wondering if rhino 5 + grasshopper is enough all by itself, crazy as that may sound ... but then i wonder if that would scare away contractors, consultants, facilities managers, and collaborators or make them worry ... and i have not asked any yet

Jul 8, 13 1:07 pm

My prediction is that Rhino will evolve into a lethal competitor to Revit - then Autodesk will buy them out

Jul 8, 13 1:36 pm

@xenakis- haha you have a good point. i remember when 3ds max and maya were on their own... even revit i think

Jul 9, 13 11:20 am

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