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AR/VR for Rhino UGM – February 2018

This is the second meeting of our AR/VR for Rhino User Group.

The group is for those who are interested in meeting in order to network, discuss and explore virtual and augmented reality solutions for Rhino.

The meetings follow a simple format of at least one presentation from a customer with experience in this field, followed by group discussion and informal pleasantries.


  • Thursday 22nd February 2018
  • 18:30 – 20:30
  • Heatherwick Studio, 356-364 Gray’s Inn Road, London, WC1X 8BH (See map here)

If you’d like to join us for the meeting then you’ll need to register here.

Presenting at the meeting:

Heatherwick Studio Logo

Heatherwick Studio started using VR and the interactive models several years ago with the first release of Oculus Rift developers’ kit. Since then we have developed several workflows how to use VR not only for the client presentations, but directly in the design process.

Heatherwick Studio VR Image

Designers are able to explore their designs from simple static VR images rendered directly in Rhino to complex fully interactive models imported to Unreal Engine.

Heatherwick Studio VR Image

We have also started exploring new ways of 3D sketching using Tilt Brush and scanning physical models with CT scans and exploring them in VR.

Heatherwick Studio VR Image

This presentation will demonstrate several workflows we have developed to review our Rhino models in VR environment on selected projects.

Heatherwick Studio VR Image

Thanks to Heatherwick Studio for kindly hosting this AR/VR for Rhino UGM.

Images courtesy of Heatherwick Studio.

Shape to Fabrication 2018

Simply Rhino announce Shape to Fabrication 2018 – April 24th & 25th 2018, Stratford, London.

Shape to Fabrication is our popular biennial two-day AEC focused conference.

Shape to Fabrication looks to cutting-edge technology, innovative construction & applications in architecture, design, engineering & construction.

2018 will see the 7th iteration of Shape to Fabrication and will feature projects and presentations from leading studios, innovators and makers including:

  • Foster + Partners
  • Zaha Hadid Architects
  • 3XN architects GXN innovation
  • Arup
  • Format Engineers
  • Loop.pH
  • Studio Moritz Waldemeyer
  • Zoe Laughlin / Institute of Making
  • RMIT (Melbourne)
  • McNeel Developers

Visit Shape to Fabrication to learn more and get your tickets to join us in April.

Shape to Fabrication is organised by Simply Rhino, the UK Rhino Experts.

Grasshopper UK UGM December 2017

Grasshopper UK User Group Meeting  |  Wednesday 13th December 2017 – London

  • The Grasshopper UK User Group Meeting

  • Wednesday 13th December 2017

  • 18:30 – 20:30

  • Heatherwick Studio, 356-364 Gray’s Inn Road, London, WC1X 8BH

Read our notes from the Grasshopper UGM below.

Presenting at the meeting

Heatherwick stdudio will present two projects covering the topic of designing, making and collaborating through computational tools. Heatherwick’s Geometry and Computational Design team will go through the computational processes behind design and making in the studio concentrating on two projects, Vessel in New York with a focus on driving the geometry and Al Fayah Park in Abu Dhabi with a focus on Form Finding and working with collaborative tools.

AKT II have extensive experience in collaborative computational design. They have developed a suite of tools which allows them to react to client changes more efficiently and have a complete control of database tracking, allowing optimisation of structural performance and cost.

AKT II’s presentation will explore a series of examples where this new approach was experimented, tested and improved, the Al Fayah Park in collaboration with Heatherwick studio and the 2016 serpentine Pavillion with BIG, and more.

Thanks to Heatherwick Studio for kindly hosting this Grasshopper UK meeting.
Images courtesy of Heatherwick Studio.

Here’s our notes from December’s meeting:

First up was Bilal Mian, Bilal gave a short presentation on VisualARQ v2 which included the following topics:

Bridging between many domains;
Translating documentation;
Conceptual modelling;
Design Studies (Form finding using Kangaroo);
Physical tests, tools and interface to control them;
Communicating between the designer and the BIM team;
Building system integration;
Sharing knowledge.

Next up were our hosts, Heatherwick Studio, led by Pablo Zamorano Head of Geometry and Computational Design at Heatherwick.

Project Vessel, New York, United States.

The concept started from two opposite curves, then a path between the two curves has been presented.  The plan consisted of a slice that has been mirrored to create the full shape, apart from two unique slices. (mostly 10 overall).

Work stages:  Strategy > Inputs > Development.

The work in Grasshopper has been divided into groups (algorithms) like: Stairs, metal connections, paths etc.  Testing the design and then preparing the detailed drawing.

Project 1000 Trees, Shanghai, China.

It includes a hotel, a market, parks, etc.  The initial concept was to divide the site into grids with columns in between, each of which has a tree on top of it. The columns went through many design iterations and the last one had the column ending up with a curved surface, making a bigger platform with a tree.  Points highlighted include:

Deformation of the column’s design to get the right shape.

More than 20 iterations/shapes were explored

The design has been fabricated by creating a negative foam mould, with concrete then poured into it.

The Façade:

The connections between the columns and beams were modular to make the fabrication easier.  South façade, was designed to be filled with graffiti where the whole façade has been divided into smaller randomised grids that have been filled with the art. The low budget of the projects requires less designers and hence smarter solutions all driven by Grasshopper which  helped to create repetitive elements (columns, openings, column tops etc.) all allocated based on layers names and location.

Grasshopper advantages: after creating a module, we can apply its logic on all other modules (cross referencing).

The fabrication of the connections between the modules all calculated in relation to the angles of the façade.

All other in office CAD tools could not offer this functionality.

Heatherwick & AKT II

Al Fayah Park: Abu Dhabi, UAE.

The project has been designed using a dry pattern of land following understanding the oasis system.  Underneath the surface, the spaces were made on the shape of cylinders with a dome on top.

The gap in between the virtual cylinders has been filled with the columns that will bear the roof.  A steel structure was created in all columns and beams through simulations it’s efficiency has been optimised.

Input > Geometry > Optimisation and test > goal

The beams were chunky and their size had to be reduced.  In grasshopper, the elements were divided into smaller groups with headlines to be able to manage them better.

Concept development: Form finding:

Geometry > structure > architecture

Creating a mesh with columns (from intersections) then projecting the mesh into the landscape this is followed by a technical study where the mesh support helped studying connections between islands, cantilevering and inner naked edges. Much optimisation has been carried out on the angels of the trusses to create the skeleton.  Grasshopper was the tool to create a responsive model and to make many iterations.  The top points of the arches, as well as other parameters were the inputs for the grasshopper script.

Structural analysis Software:

Bently <> Rhino <> SAP 2000 V16 <> Microstation

Connection forces were tested using local attractors with database exported from Rhino to Microstation.  All the elements were connected to one island to sort the data easily involving taking the model > running analysis > suggesting optimisation > sending it back to the architect.

Integrating workflow speeded things up.  Elements: connections lengths: Reorder the cut process of the connections based on their lengths.

AKT II (Edoardo Tibuzzi) then gave a short presentation on two art  installations.

Art Installation 1.

The artist wanted to go from the usual vertical shape to a doughnut shape.  Grasshopper has provided an easy manipulation of the surface, creating a parametric structural model.

Art Installation 2.

Completed by recording a car crash movement and its vertices movement in space.  Simulations on wind (calculate wind comfort), sun (annual sum of solar radiation) and thermal is best practise.  AKT II also uses VR communications through Unity and other real time rendering software.  Grasshopper helps AKT and their clients instantly understanding the implications of design iterations

If you are not already a member of the London-UK Grasshopper3d User Group and would like to be then you can sign-up here:
Join the London-UK Grasshopper3d User Group