Funicular Form Finding
The Rhinoceros® Plug-In RhinoVAULT emerged from current research on structural form finding using the Thrust-Network-Approach to intuitively create and explore compression-only structures. Using reciprocal diagrams, it provides an intuitive, fast method, adopting the same advantages of techniques such as Graphic Statics, but offering a viable extension to fully three-dimensional problems.
Our goal is to share key aspects of our research in a comprehensible and transparent setup to let one not only create beautiful shapes but also to give the user an understanding of the underlying structural principles. By now the plugin was downloaded by more than 10.000 people (via BRG website) and in 2014 RhinoVAULT was awarded in the category 'Structure / Physics Formation' at ALGODeQ, an international competition for algorithmic design programs. We are happy that the tool could be of use for students and professionals around the world to realize some amazing projects. Knowing about you work is very helpful for the development of the software and in general amazingly motivating. So, please get in touch if you have exciting projects, made with RhinoVAULT, you want to share or if you are interested in collaborative work and workshops (rippmann@arch.ethz.ch).
The development of RhinoVAULT is currently supported by the BLOCK Research Group at ETH Zurich. It is shared freely in the hope that you will enjoy it and use it for original and creative work. It can be freely shared and used for academic and commercial purposes, but with proper attribution. Please refer to our papers:
Happy Form Finding!
Matthias Rippmann
Lorenz Lachauer
Philippe Block



Support Email: UQ.JUKY.UQLS@33S4DDGL@
Plug-in rating:
Average: 4.6 (7 votes)
Title Release Notes
RhinoVAULT V1.3.0.1
Zip-Package includes: RhinoVAULT plug-in, Tutorial Files and Manual  
Language: English
RhinoVAULT V1.1.0.0
Zip-Package includes: RhinoVAULT plug-in, Tutorial Files and Manual  
Version: V1.1.0.0
Language: English
Plug-In videos:
License: http://www.block.arch.ethz.ch/brg/tools/rhinovault/disclaimer


Hi, it is not clear how you changed the individual u and v divisions for the initial surfaces, in tutorial #4, can you explain, please?

Matthias Rippmann's picture

You just need to press ESC after you selected the surface. It also prompts this in the command line ("ESC for local settings"). Hope this helps. Btw, the latest version has also a function to generate triangulated form diagrams on generic, trimmed surfaces (https://vimeo.com/116955381).


I just downloaded rhinoVAULT from Block research website. While installing I unzipped and unblocked all the 3 files (RhinoVAULT_Interface,RhinoVAULT_Solver,RhinoVAULT_V5) although I was unable to drag and drop into rhino, I was able to install both .rhp files using plugin manager. But, the .rui file (placed and shown in my program files) doesn't appear in the list when I try to open using rhino plugin manager and so I am unable to install the toolbar. I would be grateful if anyone could help me out with this issue. Thank you very much.

Matthias Rippmann's picture

Please copy the RhinoVAULT_V5.rui on your harddrive (e.g. to C:\Program Files (x86)\Rhinoceros 5.0\Plug-ins\RhinoVAULT\). Then drag the RhinoVAULT_V5.rui file from this location into Rhino 5.

The toolbar will not show at this point. To show it, you need to go to Tools -> Toolbar Layout or use the Rhino command
_Toolbar, select RhinoVAULT and check its menu. Next time you open Rhino, the toolbar will show in your workspace.

Btw, even without the toolbar you should be able to work with the plugin by typing the commands directly in the command line. All RhinoVAULT commands start with rv*. E.g. rvInitiate to initiate the plugIn.

Hope this helps.

Thank thank you very much for your reply Matthias. I was able to drag n drop the file this time and it's working now.

Jile's picture

oh guide! what's the matter with it! I don't know why it always appears an "unknown command", I have tried any way but I can't improve it--> help me pliz, .....plizzz...thanks all

Matthias Rippmann's picture

RhinoVAULT wins first ALGODeQ Award!

ALGODeQ is an international competition for algorithmic design programs. RhinoVAULT was awarded the highest prize in the category 'Structure + Design'. Congratulations also to the prize winners in the other two categories - Kangaroo and LMN Architecture.

The ALGODeQ competition was held for the first time this year. There were 190 entries from 43 countries, judged by a large panel of professors and practitioners from around the world, in a multi-stage process.


-PC Windows 8

I'm having issues with Rhino Vault on Rhino 5. I downloaded it correctly,  and it is this version: RhinoVAULT V1.1.0.0 2014-Feb-27. Once it's downloaded I take from the download folder and place it on the desktop. I then unblock all of the pluggins. Then I open the 64 bit Rhino 5 and drop the pluggins into it. I then open the toolbar for rhino vault and hit RVintiate. The rhino vault then works, but when I exit out of rhino then reopen it the toolbar is there. When I hit RVintiate the pluggin blocked window pops up. So I go to the folder on my desktop with the pluggins to unblock. I do the unblocking but the but there is not a unlock button in the properties. I'd appreciate the help. Thanks!

Hi, Ive got an issue with curved surfaces in rhino. actually the curve that I made the surface with was prefectly nice but the surface is in bad shape and is abdly segmented, specially in intersections with other surfaces. May I know how to solve this problem?! 

Matthias Rippmann's picture

Hi, could you please email (in the README.txt) me an example to clearify the problem. I am glad to help if I can.

Every time I startto use rhino and try to use rhinovault, it will ask me to initiate it and agree the end-user license agreement. How should I deal with that ?

Matthias Rippmann's picture

Use the command "_rvInitiate" by typing in the command line or press the rV button (far left on the rhinovault toolbar). You need to do this for every new rhinovault session. Hope this helps...

Hi :) RhinoVAULT is great, you guys are really awesome.I was wondering if there will be any update that allows you to generate the vault with actual bricks and also if there would be any further support in creating form diagrams with more then just 3 or 4 corner surfaces, if it is even possible, or is there any other way to create a form diagram?

Matthias Rippmann's picture

Thanks! What do you mean by "vaults with actual bricks". How you materialize the form generated with rV is more or less independent form the form finding process. By joining individual single surfaces you can easily create surfaces with holes and more than 4 corners. Note that you can also just draw form diagrams (or use grasshopper, scripting, weaverbrid etc.). Make sure you use single lines on the form edge layer.

Best Matthias

I apologize if my questions sound confusing. I'm new to Rhino and Grasshopper, so I'm still learning.

By "vaults with actual bricks" I meant to ask if a feature like this or this would be added to rV, so that after you've found the vault you could further detail it with solid forms and then maybe 3d print them (or manually create them) and create a scaled down model of the vault. 

Matthias Rippmann's picture

Sure, thanks for asking. We are working on this in an ongoing research project. The video shows an early prototyp of a design tool to generate the tessellation semi-manual with automatic optimization. But there is no plan to include this in rhinoVAULT anytime soon. For complex geometries the tessellation pattern is not always obvious to generate.

I just downloaded and installed on my Rhino 64 and 32 bit.  Eacht time I click a tool it says unknown command.  Did i miss something on the install?  I installed the 2 pluggin files and the toolbar file. Would like to use this as it looks useful.



Matthias Rippmann's picture

Hi, it seems that your plugin is not correctly installed. You can check this under rhino’s PlugInManager. Make sure you saved RhinoVAULT_Interface.rhp and RhinoVAULT_Solver.rhp in a proper location you can access and that the files are not blocked (http://wiki.mcneel.com/rhino/unblockplugin).

Best M

Hi, I'm also experiencing crashes when clicking rvinitiate.

Rhino hangs on a bit then crashes.

Version 5 SR7 64-bit
(5.7.31213.18395, 12/13/2013)

Any suggestions?

Matthias Rippmann's picture

If the procedure described in the previous comment does not work, you might have accidentally used the Rhino 4 installer files in the zip package. These files will not work in rhino 5 64-bit. You could try it in the 32-bit version if all other options fail.

Hi Matthias,

I think I've solved the problem, at least on my pc.

I've tried to install it on a Rhino 5 32-bit version with food4Rhino remote, and run rvInitiate, I've received a warning that RhinoVAULT_Solver.rhp wasn't installed, so I did and everything worked well.

So went back to Rhino 5 64-bit and found out that installing RhinoVAULT via food4Rhino remote the RhinoVAULT_Solver.rhp wasn't installed as well, but for some reason when running rvInitiate instead giving me a warning that something was missing Rhino just crashed.

Hope it can help somebody else. Bye


is internet necessary to  run rhinovault 

Matthias Rippmann's picture

No. RhinoVAULT just tries to connect for the start screen and user-info. Depending on your system, it can take a while until RhinoVAULT continues after initiating without internet connection. It seems to freeze for a moment. Just wait and do not do anything for a few seconds. 

Matthias Rippmann's picture

Just updated and compiled rhinoVAULT v1.1.0.0. It now features RhinoVAULT-specific scripting methods callable in all your scripts (rhinoscript, ironpython). This enables you to easily access RhinoVAULT data such as node coordinates, connectivity information, force magnitudes and more. For example, it is now possible to directly apply geometry components during the actual form finding process.

This small tutorial video shows you how it works:



One of the best rhino plugins, BY FAR ! amazing !


Hi, I have downloaded the latest version on this RhinoVAULT V1.0.0.5 but my 64-bit rhino still crashes when i click on the rvInitiate. Is there any steps that I miss out during installation? Thanks in advanced. 

Matthias Rippmann's picture

Sorry for the late reply. Does this error still occur? What version (SR?) do you work with? It works in my 64-bit version (Version 5 SR7 64-bit
(5.7.31213.18395, 13.12.2013)). Maybe just wait a little once you clicked on RVinitiate... It might help if you unblock your internet connection while you use this command.

ante.ljubas's picture

Hallo Matthias,

ein erstklassiges Stück Software. Gratulation :)

Beste Grüße


Matthias Rippmann's picture


kkklovearsenal's picture

amazing work!Thx~

Any chance to get a former release of rhino vault (hopefully compatible with rhino 4) ?

Matthias Rippmann's picture

Hi Sylvain

I updated the zip package. It now includes rhp files of the plug-in compiled for rhino 4. Could you please check if this works for you?


It works fine! thank you!

When I click on rV icon or type _rvinitiate, the command line shows Connecting to Network... and nothing happens.

We are behind a proxy here if that helps.

Matthias Rippmann's picture

Hmmm, the proxy might be the problem. RV trys to load content from an url for some startup screen information. It should still work in offline mode, though. I uploaded a fixed version. Please download and overwrite the olr rhp files. Hope this helps. Thanks for the note.

Hi, when i loaded in 32-bit, it warned me "Version conflict! Library could not be imported. Tey the following command to import the library manually:_rvLib", but I could not find "rvLib". Anyone can help?

Matthias Rippmann's picture

It's a hidden command which will not show up automatically while typing. Fully type out rvLib in the command window and press enter.


<edit Sep 2013> this has changend in RhinoVAULT V1.0

Hi, mine is not working at all, every commond i clicked said unknown command. Anyone can help me?

Does this work for 64-bit Rhino5? I've not been able to make it work on my 64-bit Rhino5 system. Any command I run gives me a Microsoft VBScript runtime error at Line 14.
Matthias Rippmann's picture

Check out the new version. RhinoVAULT V1.0 should work in both versions.

hi, I'm also working on a 64-bit rhino and my system crashes when I use any RhinoVault function : did you manage to get it work ?
Matthias Rippmann's picture

Check out the new version. RhinoVAULT V1.0 should work in both versions.

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