Rhino and BIM

Hello all, I am an architect working with architectural design. I am absolutely new to BIM and fairly new to Rhino. Through my rhino for mac trial I have seen its power. Until I get my work PC I cannot evaluate BIM solutions. so I am seeking your opinions.

What do you guys think of BIM plugin visualarq? (RhinoBIM?)
How do you compare them to specialized BIM (Archicad, Revit)?

Thank you


Which BIM solutions do you use now? What do you like about them? What is still missing from your workflow? Why are you looking at Rhino for modelling architecture?

This forum is for people who use VisualARQ already, so the more they know about you, the more they might be able to understand how to best address your question.

Hi Luis, thanks for your reply.

Currently I am not using BIM (auto-cad and modo user here), I am only curious about it because I like the idea of modeling in 3d and then extracting plans, elevations, and sections etc… What I don’t like about BIM, from little I know about it, is that, it didn’t seem to be an intuitive tool for designers and especially in the modeling department. Rhino, however, I find to be intuitive and a fantastic modeling tool. That’s why I’m looking at rhino for modeling architecture. i feel like i can be quick and precise. And so i imagine if Asuni implemented its BIM plugin effectively, the combination would be the best of both worlds.

I will eventually try them once I get a PC (im a mac user), but until then I would like to hear opinions of its users.


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That helps! There are tools in VisualARQ that help you with documentation. I’ll leave opinions to the users as mine would be quite biased :wink:

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I would love to read your opinion regardless if you are willing to share.


Rhino and VisualArq work very well together and are useful on a variety of project sizes for varying uses. Of course, this is all based on my own experiences so others may have different ideas about the benefits and drawbacks. I’m referring only to the PC versions. I’m also assuming your end goal of a BIM software is to develop construction documents. In the future this may not necessarily be the case, but this is where we are at the moment.

I would say Rhino/VisualArq is a good standalone BIM software for smaller projects with fewer than say, 50 architectural sheets. For larger projects, it is very useful as a design/modeling tool which is later intergrated into a larger BIM software such as Revit.

I’m most familiar with Revit as the BIM application. Revit is great for data organization and repetitive buildings. It is terrible for design flexibility and small one-off projects. Revit is a beast, especially when it comes to schedules and working with very large and complicated projects. You can easily work on large projects with hundreds of sheets, and thousands of elements such as doors, plumbing fixtures, etc that would need to be referenced in a schedule. For large complicated buildings that have months or years of drawing time this is probably the construction document generation software for you. That said, it is painful to work outside of the boundaries that autodesk has established. You can find endless numbers of forums where people have complicated work-arounds for seemingly simple tasks that for whatever reason are not natively a part of Revit. The software updates generally do not resolve these workarounds so simple annoyances from 10 years ago are often still annoyances. The design method is not intuitive or flexible. Nearly every firm I’ve ever heard of uses some other modeling software and then imports or rebuilds the design in Revit later. Autodesk is essentially a monopoly and the pricing of Revit reflects that. This is not as big a deal for mid and large size firms but can be a major impediment to smaller ones. There is no backward compatibility, no ability to work with other versions even between consultants, and it is the most expensive architectural software I see commonly used (not counting Ghery Tech, Catia, and such). That being said, I would not want to generate construction documents on a massive project with anything else.

Rhino is, in my opinion, currently the best architectural modeling software out there. It’s flexible for a variety of workflows, has great support from the developer, and has a lot of tremendous plugins. Visualarq gives it a lot of added power and makes it much more architectural than simply modeling forms. You can create floor plans, elevations, sections, (though unfortunately no reflected ceiling plans) etc as well as create schedules for the doors, fixtures, etc. If you are familiar with grasshopper it is a big plus in automating a lot of otherwise tedious operations. The functionality is good for a small set of construction documents or ones that will be creates in weeks/months rather than months/years. For larger projects, the IFC plugin functionality makes moving slabs, walls, doors, columns, etc from Rhino into Revit much more seamless. You can create initial design massings and corresponding plans in Rhino/VA, and then move them into Revit for more documentation and less general design studies. The community for both Rhino and Visualarq is very supportive and it is not uncommon for other users and/or developers from McNeel and Asuni to regularly provide input and help on questions.

I hope that helps.



Thank you so much for your reply.

As a person who will never use Revit again (because i :heart_eyes: Rhino/GH) Its a good entry level program for Architects. It’s plug and play “BIM”, and limited by this, unlike Rhino/GH which is anything you want to make it.

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Go for it.
I preach that Rhino with VisualARQ is the best solution right there for architects.
BIM as a protocol is something each one of us should embrace and you need to get on the bandwagon.
I’ve been an Autodesk user for ages and as @Rickson, I’ll go back to Revit over my dead body.
Rhino gives you the freedom like no other, and trust me, I’ve tried it all.

Yes, Revit is the best at managing a large project and it’s an industry standard, but it’s so closed and limiting that makes my skin crawl.

Rhino gives you the fluidity of a modeling software [like Modo] where you can create anything you can imagine and VisualARQ gives you the structure and efficiency to get your architectural projects in order.
And when you get into it, start playing with Grasshopper and the possibilities are endless.
You’ll be a better architect because of this software.
I know it’s scrutiny to say that the software makes the architect, but I stand by my statement.
You and your creativity control the project instead of the software.
Also, If you spit up a few more bucks, buy VRay and you have an all-in-one solution for your needs.

This is not to say that VisualARQ doesn’t have some drawbacks, but the dudes at Asuni have opened “gateways” to get all the data you need into a project, and with the power of Rhino, you will be producing some awesome documentation.

And when you get to a point where you need to go bigger [not to say that you can’t go XXL big with Rhino+VisualARQ] or need to collaborate with colleagues on other platforms, you can always export your project via the IFC protocol and import them into Revit or ArchiCAD with all the data you had.

Get an understanding of how BIM works. Get yourself familiar with Rhino modeling techniques. And dive into VisualARQ.


Yes, yes, yes. Need this since forever.


Archicad offers direct integration with grasshopper. Personally i like archicad better than revit, U might want to try archicad.

VisualArc is a very promising tool for BIM. But it needs a direct attention from Rhino itself and in my opinion, needs to become one with grasshopper/rhino in future version.

As long as it is still a plug in. No way it can ever substitute revit or archicad (Look at building permit regulation)

For visual arc to become a full BIM and recognized by the industry it also needs input from other consultant besides architect, namely : structure engineers, MEP engineer, QS, etc, cuz a full-BIM software also need to hv functionality for them. Not just architectural tools.

I was hoping one day, rhino can branch into several dedicated sub-apps and each can be specialized in the specific field. For example:

Rhino-Pro : the lovely rhino we know already, a general tools

Rhino-BIM : specific full BIM functionality. This includes a dedicated tools for building documentation and construction management. All tools for architects, structure, MEP, QS, hydro, and geo engineers all is there.

Rhino-Naval : specific for ships designing. Tools and engineers solution for water dynamics etc.

Rhino-Diamond : specific for jewellery design. With tools specifically for jewelery work.


VisualArc can become the first Rhino subs that leads Rhino-BIM to become a mature software in the future.


Any news on Rhino and BIM?

I worked in Revit and tried VisualARQ few years ago. It seemed it was lacking some basic functionalities. I am wondering if anything changed since then.

Is there anyone on this forum that uses VisualARQ as a professional tool in architecture?

I gave the latest version of VA a try recently. It’s basically the same as what it was few years ago. It’s still lacking basic functionalities for BIM software. Moreover, it still has awful lot of bugs and many of them are serious ones.


I really like VA and use some of it’s features daily (levels, sections, section hatches, plan/section views, ifc im/export, parametric objects, also grasshopper-powered, etc ).
But yes, it’s not perfect, and there’s a lot to be desired. For now, I use it for the design phase, not executional planning. My hope is that VA3 will be the big step forward to make it a convincing drafting and BIM solution as well.
Just some examples:
You cannot rotate space labels, which is a dealbreaker in all projects not aligned to exactly project north (which are practically all).
Creating schedules/lists (the purpose of BIM) is still too… awkward. Features are there, but this could be simpler.
(Both examples will be improved in VA3 as Asuni tells us.

My conclusion up until now: it’s quite useful, but if you try to use VA for more than it is capable of, you will be disappointed. It’s not a Revit replacement - yet.
That said, I truly hope it will become one, and better sooner than later. The way Autodesk is milking their customers is… unsavory.

Something else: most manufacturers in the building industry offer 3d versions of their products, for BIM planning (windows, doors, facades, furniture, electrical, lighting, plumbing, …). Of course there are commercial interests behind this, but still it can be helpful.

Although some objects are available as 3dm, the big players usually offer Revit, ArchiCAD and DWG. Some example:

VisualArq is still flying (far) under the radar here, so we need a proper way to import such data. This would be another loose end to tie if VA wants to become a serious player in the BIM game (for good or bad…)