How it works is a plug-in that analyses geometry and informs users about the performance of their projects - all that in real-time. In order to be able to calculate each number correctly and always provide valid outputs, it needs more inputs than just the geometry itself. In the following sections, you will get to know more about the principles that function as a foundation for all calculations the plug-in does and how users can affect them.

Specifically, these topics will be covered:

  • Sectors
  • Categories
  • Project goals


Having data about the whole project is definitely useful. In real-world it is very common, though, to have a project divided into smaller sections. This is exactly what we allow users to achieve with This way, it is possible to have control not only over the whole project but over smaller sectors as well. It is a simple yet powerful tool helping to group objects for calculations as architects and urban planners do on an everyday basis.

In order to use this feature, users have to select one Rhino layer. Every planar curve or closed polyline that exists as a direct child in such layer indicates one sector.
Users can also give each sector a name. This option as accessible through Object info panel.

Check out how to set up sectors on your project.


A category is a user-defined set of information, that gives the plug-in all the necessary information about the purpose of each distinct geometry object.
It can be anything from greenery area, underground car parkings, residential building or high rise office building with service on the ground floor. Each of these examples has its own definition consisting of a type (building/car parkings/greenery area/etc.) and constants that are specific for each category type.

Lastly, each category accepts only a specific type of geometry (3D/2D/Point).

Building category is special in several ways. Besides the pure fact that it is the most important type, it also requires extra definitions to work correctly.
This extra definition is a building composition - information telling the plug-in intended arrangement of floors. When Chameleon is parsing the building to calculate necessary data, it uses defined composition to determine type of given floor. Such arrangement goes from bottom to top. Each item is defined by floor type (Residential/Office/Service) and the number of floors in a given section. The composition also has one default item that is used for every floor that exceeds the user-defined floor arrangement.

TODO: Graphics explaining the composition

Check out how to set up building composition for category.

Default building composition is defined for each building category. Nevertheless, there is also a way how to override such definition for selected building. This option is accessible through Object info panel.

Required geometry: 3D
Specific variables:
  • Initial investment - average initial investment per square meter
  • Income - average income per netto square meter
  • Building composition
  • For residential floors:
    • Residential floor height
    • Residential netto area ratio
    • Average flat area
    • Tenants per flat
    • Cars per flat
    • Bikes per flat
    • Students ratio
  • For office floors:
    • Offices floor height
    • Offices netto area ratio
    • Area per person
    • Cars per 1000㎡
    • Bikes per 1000㎡
  • For service floors:
    • Services floor height
    • Services netto area ratio
    • Area per person
    • Cars per 1000㎡
    • Bikes per 1000㎡
Car parking
Chameleon can calculate both offer and demand of car parking spots. Geometry belonging to this category will be used to calculate available spots. Therefore, you can simply satisfy the need of having enough parking spots available by specifying area per one parking parking spot (for example 17㎡).
Required geometry: 2D
Specific variables:
  • Car parking area - average area needed for one car parking spot
Bike parking
Category works in exactly the same way as Car parking type.
Required geometry: 2D
Specific variables:
  • Car parking area - average area needed for one bike parking spot
Most zoning plans demand a certain greenery area percentage of the plot. With this category type, you can control such requirements easily.
Required geometry: 2D
Specific variables:
  • Greenery ratio - affects effective coverage calculation.
Solar panels
Create a category calculating area and power of solar panels in your design.
Required geometry: 2D
Specific variables:
  • Energy production - average energy (kWh) produced per square meter
As sustainable design thinking is becoming a new standard, vertical farms and city farms are coming into reality. Incorporate them in your design with this category type and calculate farm area and crop yield.
Required geometry: 2D
Specific variables:
  • Crop yield - average amount crop produced per square meter
Trees play an important role in surroundings design and have a significant ecological impact.
Required geometry: Point
Specific variables:
  • Tree radius - value is used only for visualizations and does not impact any calculations
  • CO2 consumption - amount per one tree

For any of these types, there can be multiple categories defined. That way, users can create and work a with specific category for anything they want. For instance: In the case of the building type it can be office buildings, hotels, social housing etc. All of these examples share the same type (building) but have different names and constants used for calculations.

In order to start using the defined category, users need to assign it to a Rhino layer. Thanks to this relation, Chameleon is able to recognize the purpose of any given object and calculate necessary information correctly.

Check out how to set up categories on your project.

Project goals

In order to meet requirements given by law or assignment without a hassle, plug-in lets users enter several constants that serve as a goal. When goals are set, it is easy to determine if the project fulfills all the criteria it has to. Users can then have a simple overview of the state the project is at. These values are used for example in the Metrics panel

Specifically, those constants are:

  • Floor Space Index (FSI)
  • Density
  • Total Area
  • Total Area Netto

Check out how to set up goals for your project.

Proceed to the Initial setup page to start using the tool on your own.