Does anyone use rhino as their primary architectural cad application?

Hi @GregP,

Looks great.
Do you use Rhino for 2d documentation or perhaps VisualARQ?
Or do you have to export to another app for that?

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Thank you Roland

Thanks @mortenengel

I usually export my 2D elevations, sections and floor plans to AutoCAD to add height levels & text as most of our clients want *.DWG files.

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Thanks. Why not just do all that in Rhino and export a dwg from there?

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I use rhino for architectural 2d drafting about 2 years. Rhino 2d + vizualarq + grasshopper.

We do. I’d call it architectural lite. No plug-ins, but bunch of scripts. We have 3D model, layouts with elevations, 3D views, symbols, details etc.

We shifted from AutoCAD mostly because Rhino handled pointclouds and 3D nurb modeling miles better than AutoCAD at the time. Never regretted since.


Hi guys,

I was researching on this topic a lot, since I want to do the same and use Rhino as my primary architectural app. It would make sense in a lot of ways. Regarding workflow and costs.

Still find it a little hard sometimes, since especially in the mac version the layout function is very basic.

There have been a few posts reflecting this theme lately. Sounds like a market to be tapped???

I don’t know the scale - how many (what percentage) of architecture firms small, or large, think like you?

I’m not a professional architect (hobby) but anything that is good for Rhino depth…and I appreciate the ‘crossover’ stuff, i.e., Grasshopper.


I’d be interested if anyone has any new comments on this topic.

This is on my mind because I have been creating campus renderings for an industrial client — several large and small buildings on several hilly acres. The requirement has been to have the actual site topography, roads, parking, plantings, etc., as well as the facility modeled in high fidelity, including the adjacent wooded areas. The default BIM/modeling tools were doing fine per building or component but having difficulty with the scale and complexity of data when bringing all of the elements together — it was not cost-effective to develop the archviz from them. To my pleasant surprise, I was able to import and/or build all of the site and building components in Rhino and the performance has been — snappy and stable. The model is over 1 GB — and performance is snappy and stable — I mean no different than if all I had was a 1 meter cube in the model — I can’t believe it. The incredible performance of Rhino 6 + Lumion has made developing this model and these renderings so much more efficient than if we were going through our standard modeling/BIM tools into Lumion.

As a separate but related matter, I have been using rhino and grasshopper for a long time and continue to be impressed with how they are developing, and I’ve been following the development of VisualArq and am always impressed with its strides as well.

All of this recent experience has me wondering, are Rhino+grasshopper+VisualArq sufficiently advanced now where the cost-benefit analysis is shifting and it just makes sense to stay in Rhino+grasshopper+VisualArq for the entire BIM development/documentation workflow? It is starting to seem to me like the only reason to leave Rhino as a BIM development environment at this point is for documentation management, use of advanced BIM server technology, integrated simulation and analysis that other BIM tool vendors offer, and for the enormous catalog of prebuilt revit families.

It appears that document management is being addressed in Rhino V7. I cannot speak to the BIM server issue. Even for large projects, I have found that cloud services are sufficient now, and a federated modeling approach combined with Rhino’s worksessions have worked well for me as well. I don’t know if there are still distinct advantages to having privately hosted BIM servers and unified models. I don’t know if there is a solution to the content issue either.

I know that major BIM vendors are offering more integrated analysis now, through plugins and cloud services. But again, Rhino also has this through plugins for Rhino and for grasshopper, so I don’t know that there is a significant difference there.

Anyway, just something I’ve been wondering because time is money and rhino seems to be so fast and so stable now, even with enormous models, which saves a lot of time, and its upgrade pricing is significantly less expensive, to where I wonder if it is close enough to feature complete as a BIM solution that the cost-benefit analysis now favors it.


Unfortunately, I have different experience as most of people in here.
Most of time i am working on small scale projects, residential buildings, renovations of apartment buildings and remodeling of apartments.
For all my projects i use revit. As it is easy to create 2d technical drawings and adjust 3d model with in technical drawing. ( You can select wall and change walls location with dimentions from 2d drawing or with temp dimensions.) I find it hard to work in rhino with out having this ability to adjust precision of my drawings.
While ago i was hoping that rhino + visualarq will be able to deliver techical drawings that i need but in my work flow i still can’t give up adaptive dimensions, 2d plan views in different scales - that automatically scale dimensions, lines and hatches.
I hope soon I will be able to move over rhino+visualarq soon, but currently designing in rhino for me is a lot slower and stressful as I can’t be certain that All dimensions are correct.


Agree - most popular software types have these capabilities.

@stevebaer - I love Rhino, but this issue is key for its future success imo. Live 2D drawing views of models with parametric capabilities - ie being able to create 2D views intuitively and then being able to adjust dimensions, updating the 3D model. Also display properties to be scale aware, as Kristaps mentions.

@scottd - perhaps integration with Revit inside is the answer so that documentation and adjustments are done in 3rd party software, but not convinced so far.

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I just don’t understand why Mcneel don’t make that leap to destroy Revit in architectural industry. Rhino has all of the right ingredients, just needs small tweaks and aditions mentioned in previous messages. It is an intelligent software that uses pure maths in space and also an intuitive one; moreover it always made architects and designers stand out. Revit is robust software and very convenient tool with its strong focus on BIM and a clear choice for large scale projects, but as a tool, it actually destroyed architecture as a profession, in a sense that it made architects worth less. Suddenly this tool as a biproduct becomes more important than architects themselves. Literally the first thing that a company is after these days is Revit experience.
This is all a result of a strong marketing from Autodesk corporation - suddenly it seems as if there was no BIM before Autodesk purchased Revit, or Revit is the only BIM software out there, or as if there was no architecture before actual BIM. In fact some of the greatest buildings humanity achieved, were by using low tech tools.
I personally think Revit is the biggest con of today’s industry judging by it’s popularity.
On one hand it is supposed to make you work smarter not harder, but on the other hand in order to produce adequate looking drawing set you need to painstakingly model absolutely everything which puts unnecessary pressure on early stages, or it simply does not look good. So resonably a lot of companies, at least in the UK, use the combination of Revit and AutoCAD. Which seems so stupid, but at the same time I understand why they do it.
With all of it’s pro’s, Revit also still fails to promptly adress the live world data, so once things move on-site, one is forced to amend model accordingly and all of the information suddenly comes from the contractor rather than Revit model which is left as symbolic digital (semi) twin.
I work in Rhino manly, but have worked in Revit. Rhino seriously has the ability to overtake all of the software in architecture industry - it can render nearly as good as 3ds max, it can CAD as good as AutoCAD, it can model as easily as Sketchup and it can handle data as big as Revit when used properly with it’s plugins and scripts, but above all it can import and export the largest amount of files and data from points, nurbs, meshes, curves, vectors, pixels, blocks etc.
It’s a software in which you can model objects as small as a fraction of a milimeter to objects as large as the masterplan. Why not just push it that step further to become the ultimate go to, this I will never understand.


Hi Milan,

Revit is massive program that has a lot of functionality for many different disciplines. It can do some serious heavy lifting if a person/team knows what they are doing.

The current situation of the ‘BIM’ world is a complex and changing environment; which well suited for Rhino and as a flexible development platform, not so much for monolithic software unless they have ‘the whole package’. This package now includes cloud based project management, storage & taking projects through the entire lifecycle.

This is where Autodesk is accelerating its acquisitions and building the reliance on the ACC (Autodesk Construction Cloud), along with the future endeavors of MID (Manufacturing Informed Design).

That said, there is also Trimble and Bentley systems and a large number of more independent solutions vying for this space.

Will people sign up for everything in on place, for a subscription fee? Perhaps

Can something new emerge that connects everything more and isn’t under the umbrella of a monolithic solution? Perhaps, but that will depend on the innovators and community willing to put in the effort on something that may or may not pay off (unless the intent is to be acquired).


IMO best thing McNeel can do is to provide tool makers like VisualArc with the possibilities to imporve their product. Like just for example, making a useful table-object, with good Excel interop.

Hi Japhy,
thanks for your comments and links, yes I understand how Autodesk’s packages work in terms entire lifecycle. And this is particulary strong in infrastructure projects and prefab factories etc. Having said that, these projects are not common in architecture. Or should I say the leading architecture companies in the world (design focused companies) generally work on projects with a lot of bespoke elements to them or at least more complexity because of the need for sustainability and comfort at the same time, or simply aesthetics. (So where the guy in MID video from Autodesk University that you shared, spent 27 minutes talking about the most conventional staircase and it’s manufacturing data properties, this becomes hightened in complexity when talking about a feature staircase of a contemporary public building in central London or New York per sei). The system is too robust and not as flexible in form, and this is exactly the reason for the infamos Open letter to Autodesk in 2020 from the world’s most renowned architectural companies (over 100 of them). They (Autodesk) charge more for their licence every year, but in return they give only tiny modelling improvement. Revit as is with all it’s side plugins is still perfect software for construction world, but not architectue one - the irony is that architecture does not exist without construction, at least not tangibly, and that’s why we architects are literally forced into it without making our life that much easier - we still need regular coordination meetings with consultants, we still need to employ BIM managers to monitor the software workflow, we still need Design & Build contracts with contractors involved early on in the game, and we still need project managers to run the show from tender stage onwards. In theory all of these tutorial Autodesk-Uni videos make sense, but in practice it’s a whole different story. Unless you pre-fabricate every single piece in a factory by a machine, you still have to deal with builder’s errors, and quite often untrained labour due to market shortage. For Autodesk, the construction industry is a real profit here though. We’ll see how perhaps AI will work with BIM in the future, not sure.
But this is all why a more design dominant software with BIM and AI capabilities would play a big role in architecture. If only Autodesk made Maya (or 3DS max) into BIM :slight_smile:

Unfortunately, Rhino is still too slow. Rhino 8 is out, but even a simple copy operation takes a lot of time.

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Given your other post, you have completely disabled your GPU for use with Rhino.

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Actually, I tried every way to overcome the problem. I don’t think it’s caused by the GPU. I shot another video for you. Everything is moving so slowly, I don’t understand why.

This seems wrong. Please upload the file so we can test it too.

Please, see the other thread