The Matthias Rippmann Memorial Prize 2020 – RhinoVault 2

The Matthias Rippmann Memorial Prize is given to a digital tool, body of research, written text or any other thing that revolutionizes architectural research of the Digital Future.


A brief introduction on Dr. Matthias Rippman’s contributions, visions and achievements on RhinoVAULT 2

The Rhinoceros® plug-in RhinoVAULT, developed by Dr. Matthias Rippmann at the Block Research Group (BRG) of ETH Zurich, emerged from research on structural form finding using Thrust Network Analysis (TNA) and was developed to facilitate the creation and exploration of compression-only, funicular structures.

RhinoVAULT provides an intuitive method for funicular form finding, adopting the same advantages of techniques such as graphic statics, but offering a viable extension to fully three-dimensional problems. The designer can control the many degrees of freedom of highly indeterminate three-dimensional equilibrium systems to explore structural form. Since its release in 2014, RhinoVAULT has been downloaded by more than 30’000 designers, and it has been used to design surprising free-form funicular shells all over the world.

Because of the tragic passing of Dr. Rippmann, development of RV has stopped. In order to provide continued form-finding exploration and fun, the BRG has developed the brand-new open-source framework, RhinoVAULT 2 (RV2), based on COMPAS.

The Block Research Group (BRG) at the Institute of Technology in Architecture at ETH Zürich is led by Prof. Dr. Philippe Block and Dr. Tom Van Mele. Research at the BRG focuses on several core areas, including analysis of masonry structures, graphical analysis and design methods, computational form finding and structural design, discrete element assemblies, and fabrication and construction technologies. The central goals of our geometry-based approach are to understand the real demands of complex structural design and engineering problems and to develop new algorithms and efficient, accessible tools for structurally informed design.


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