Rhino to ArchiCAD as a Referenced Model

Dear all,

How are your experiences with a Rhino-ArchiCAD Pipeline?
I’m on ArchiCAD 22/Rhino 6 now, and the workflow doesn’t really seem too seamless.

ArchiCAD 22 does not support Rhino 6 natively so I am exporting as Rhino 5 everytime. Then I go over to ArchiCAD and import the 3dm as a library. The problem here is that ArchiCAD doesn’t seem to update the geometry afterwards, even if I export an updated model from Rhino to the same file name. I thought that ArchiCAD should detect changes in the library and then update accordingly, but it doesn’t. I want to update the model in rhino dynamically, so that I can plug it into my archicad file
I have downloaded the Rhino plug-in from the graphisoft website, but it does not support rhino 6 again.
Should I appropriate the grasshopper-rhino-archicad-live-connection for this? I assume that ArchiCAD 23 should fix compability but is there a solution that works for you meanwhile?
Appreciate your responses,


If you want to reference a Rhino model, you can use Hotlinks as well.

  1. Save your model to Rhino v5 (v6 is not yet supported).
  2. Go to a floor plan in ARCHICAD.
  3. File/External content/Place hotlink.
  4. Select your Rhino model, assign a layer, ID, etc., and place it.
  5. You can modify the model in Rhino, save it.
  6. Go to the Hotlink Module Manager (File/External content/…), and update the model.

I hope this helps.


Thanks furton,

I have thought about this, but wasn’t sure if it’d work, as I usually use the hotlink module archiCAD to archiCAD only. I will try as soon as I have updated my model, thanks a lot.
In any case it seems much easier than embedding the model in a GH file (which requires me to define all the elements properly) to link it up with ArchiCAD via the live connection. as in the current design phase it don’t really need all of the parameters.

Is this something that you do often?

Yeah, I tend to send models back and forth this way.

  • export from AC to Rhino via .3dm
  • open it in Rhino, model something, e.g. the cladding for the facades
  • export that only, import it via the hotlinks
  • morph it, if I want more snapping options or some corrections are needed

Think about this as an extension the Morph tool with Rhino. Grasshopper works for me in those scenarios where the boundaries are set, and iterations help the design, but I really like that you can layer different approaches depending on the development of the plan. When they first introduced the library part importer, it was very clunky, I’ve almost never used that, hotlinks and the GH-AC connection work just fine for me.

thanks again for your giving an insight in your workflow. I would have replied sooner but was caught between deadlines… I have successfully embedded the rhino model as a hotlink in AC, worked quite well actually. I found it good as a base for my AC model, and gradually removed parts and replaced them with AC native elements as I went further in the design, hence using rhino rather as a sketching tool.
I am looking forward to trying the GH-AC connection in the near future, once an opportunity arises, so far I have only seen a colleague of mine using it rather impressively.

hi Felice have you tried the grasshopper link?
it’s exactly made to exchange data between Rhino and AC.
It’s a great combination and you can add on top the Gh parametricity.

@skysurfer are you refering to a special module inside the GH-AC connection that allows for referencing or to the plugin as a whole?
I have only used the very basically so far, as I found that in the specific scenario (a geometry already finished in rhino without ArchiCAD properties) it worked better to embed my rhino model as a hotlink. It would have been a bit too tedious to try to super-impose the AC properties in GH at this stage, especially as I wanted the geometry rather as a morph/sketch to generate sections and plans quickly. Or am I missing some capability of the GH-AC plugin?
But yeah, definitively it sounds like a great tool, @skysurfer, I am really eager to try it soon.

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Any news on this?
I´m working on ArchiCAD 23/Rhino 6 and am having the same issue…

@hoffmeistermaex, well it’s been a while since I posted this, so my memory is not entirely fresh. I think archicad23 does support rhino 6 files meanwhile.
But as you can read above in @furtonb’s response it’s not that there’s one solution to this. There are at least several ways. The hotlinking was actually pretty smooth for my purpose. Remember to refresh them, :wink:
I have worked on some ac-gh stuff meanwhile it’s pretty neat, but requires two screens (otherwise you go mad) and a but of gh knowhow. But when you want something done like parametric facades that’s the way forward! Worked quite nicely for me. The only issue is that you have to be careful when baking things to archicad. If you updated your definition in gh, some of the existing geometry (even baked) in actually gets lost. So make sure to copy those elements once in archicad and potentiallyremove their gh element ID. But that only applies if you want to keep geometry that you have already generated even if you twitch the gh definition.
What is you exact application of this, what to do you want to do with your rhino data in archicad?