In this two-part paper we present a collection of numerical methods combined into a single framework, which has the potential for a successful application to wind turbine rotor modeling and simulation. In Part 1 of this paper we focus on: 1. The basics of geometry modeling and analysis-suitable geometry construction for wind turbine rotors; 2. The fluid mechanics formulation and its suitability and accuracy for rotating turbulent flows; 3. The coupling of air flow and a rotating rigid body. In Part 2 we focus on the structural discretization for wind turbine blades and the details of the fluid–structure interaction computational procedures. The methods developed are applied to the simulation of the NREL 5MW offshore baseline wind turbine rotor. The simulations are performed at realistic wind velocity and rotor speed conditions and at full spatial scale. Validation against published data is presented and possibilities of the newly developed computational framework are illustrated on several examples. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.