Phoenix3D is a new open source Rhino3D + Grasshopper tool to design optimum truss structures made of new and reused components. It aims to support a more circular design approach in the structural design process. Thus, Phoenix3D enables to intuitively create and explore optimum structures in terms of environmental impact and other design goals. Its underlaying concept allows for real time feedback and fast design variations. Rather than one closed design loop, this tool is tailored to synergize with other Grasshopper components to guarantee a smooth design workflow.

Logo Phoenix3D


The tool is a plugin for Grasshopper3D, the interactive parametric environment within Rhino3D, a 3D modelling software widely used in architecture and structural design firms. The plugin is currently available for download on Food4Rhino as well as on GitHub.


The installation of Phoenix3D is no different from other Grasshopper plugins. Simply drop both Phoenix3D.dll and Phoenix3D_Components.gha files in the “Grasshopper Component Folder” (Grasshopper>File menu>Special Folders>Components Folder). Unblock both files if necessary. Restart Rhino. Enjoy!


Designing with reclaimed components swaps the conventional structural design process: rather than manufacturing components based on a preliminary design of the full structural system, the geometry and topology of the structural system is constrained by the availability of reused components. Hence the plugin demands the prior definition of two element stocks, one with the characteristics of elements that are available for reuse and the other with the characteristics of new elements regularly available on the market. The choice between both stocks when assigning the elements onto a predefined base structure is then processed through Best-Fit heuristics, allowing for the minimization of adverse environmental impacts or other objectives. The result is a structure whose topology and geometry is optimized for reusing the given stock of elements.


How to reference the tool

“Phoenix3D”, J. Warmuth, J. Brütting, C. Fivet, EPFL, 2021 (

About the authors

The plugin is a product of the Structural Xploration Lab, EPFL. It is developed and coded by Jonas Warmuth & Jan Brütting following research results from Jan Brütting’s PhD thesis.

About the name

The phoenix is the immortal bird arising from the ashes of its predecessor. No other animal symbolizes better the extension of service lifespans of structural components through their reuse in new buildings.

Related publications

  • Computational Tool for Stock-Constrained Design of Structures
    IASS Symposium, 2021 (detailed record)
  • Design of Truss Structures Through Reuse
    Structures, 2019 (detailed record)