c-HRC Grasshopper plug-in Complex Hiprafter Construction – simple fabrication of complex wooden forms

A plug-in developed for the 3D modelling software Rhinoceros at the Institute for Digital Economy in the Construction and Wood Industry IdBH makes it easy to manufacture flowing architectural forms from wood. It brings the ability to produce any number of complex geometric shapes to a wide market.


  • Lead school School of Architecture, Wood and Civil Engineering
  • Institute Institute for Digital Economy in the Construction and Wood Industries
  • Research unit Digital Building
  • Duration (planned) 20.04.2020 - 30.06.2020
  • Project management Miro Bannwart
  • Head of project Miro Bannwart
  • Partner Treppenbau.ch
  • Keywords Rhino, Grasshopper, Parametrics, Wood, Panels, Architecture, Free form, Geometry, Wood architecture, Digital, Digital manufacturing, Gravitational Pavilion, Climbing wall


Free-form projects using wood are often made of complex, individual components that are difficult to make, generating high production costs. As a result, the production of such complex forms needs to be simplified. In order to do this, the fundamental complex shape needs to be transformed into individual components that are easily producible at the digital project design stage. The challenge lies in achieving this simplification.


The aim is to develop computer-based methods that enable complex wooden forms to be manufactured easily. To achieve this goal, the complex wooden free forms are broken down into highly simplified individual components. A complex wood structure can then be assembled from individual beams and panels.

More specifically, a user-friendly Grasshopper plug-in is to be developed for the 3D modelling software Rhinoceros. The new plug-in will generate simplified triangle-based production geometries on complex free-form areas which can be cut both with the CNC and a hand-held circular saw. All angles and lengths required are displayed visually for manual cutting.


In 2017, Miro Bannwart created the Gravitational Pavilion as part of the fabrication module on the bachelor’s degree programme. The wooden dome was assembled with support from industry partners Krüsi Maschinenbau AG and Treppenbau.ch AG.

The production geometry for the Gravitational Pavilion was created in 2017 using the visual programming plug-in Grasshopper. This logic is being reprogrammed by Miro Bannwart, now an assistant at the Institute for Digital Economy in the Construction and Wood Industry IdBH, in the programming language C#. The code will then be published as a user-friendly Grasshopper plug-in. This makes the calculation of the individual components for wooden free forms of any desired complexity accessible to a wide market.

An initial application with the new plug-in is already at the planning stage. A climbing wall is to be designed and then constructed in cooperation with Treppenbau.ch AG and the Bütschwil climbing association.