Author Archives: 05 Lauren Hillner


05_Lauren Hillner

The surface offset tool allows you to duplicate a surface and move it a certain distance from the origin surface.  The “S” on the left stands for the surface you want to offset. “D” stands for the distance you want to offset the surface.  “T” stand for trimming the offset surface.

To begin, you need to create a surface:

1. Double click in Grasshopper and type in “point.” This will give you the point node.

2. Duplicate this three more times for a total of 4 point nodes.

3. Right click on one of the point nodes and click “set one point.”  This allows you to place the point in Rhino.  Do this to the other three point nodes to create a flat shape for the surface. (you should have four red X’s showing in Rhino)

4. Under the Surface tab and Freeform section is the 4point Surface button. Connect the four points to the A, B, C, and D parts of the surface node.  Sometimes it will connect wrong, and the surface formed in Rhino will be two triangles. Normally switching the last two points or first two points solves this issue. You now have a surface.

5. Under the Surface tab and Freeform section is the Offset button. Connect the “S” from the 4point Surface node to the “S” on the offset node.

6. Double click in grasshopper and type in “number slider.” Connect this to the “D” in offset. This node allows you to slide the duplicated surface a specific distance from the origin.

7. Right click on the slider node and under “values” is where you can change the distance of the offset.  Now you have a surface that is offset a specific distance from the original surface.

The green surface is the surface that has been offset.


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The Hong Kong Niu Shu Skyscraper was designed as a part of the 2009 eVolo Skyscraper Competition by Francis Wilmore, Courtney Brinegar, and Jennifer Cramer of the United States.  The name of the project developed out of the Mandarin words for “twisting” and “tree,” and corresponds with the English phrase as the “new shoe” fitting into the growing Hong Kong commercial area.

The Skyscrapers are designed to be residential high rises as well as a way to bring in commercial capital by hydroponic farming.  The project employs the use of a double skin system, with the exterior structure serving as places for farming.  This means that the agriculture becomes a visual to the surrounding area, both promoting the Niu Shu brand and crops produced while allowing the designer to use the vibrant colors of the nature as part of the overall design.  They suggest arranging the crops in order of color per high rise as methods of hierarchy and organization, which would also allow more specific environments for potential residents to choose from.

Niu Shu is relevant to the architectural and interior space of a skyscraper because it creatively and effectively combines the need for nature and sustainability with a very consumerist driven city.  Its design also visibly expresses this idea to the surrounding areas with its green exterior skin.  I find that the interior environment of the design is also very relevant.  The designers discuss that the residents have a choice to actively immerse themselves in the growing and cultivating process to lower living costs or just freely educate themselves about their natural surroundings.  I am very interested of the psychological outcome of living in a busy, commercial city, but with a direct and daily connection to the growing crops in the high rise.