Grasshopper to Catia Progress

We’re continuing progress with Dassault Systèmes on implementing Catia into architectural process. Our first course of study aims at the Grasshopper/Catia workflow, and since our previous post, we’ve delved into Knowledgeware, the scripting platform for Catia.

Our conclusion: Knowledgeware is awesome. In our previous post, we were using Power Copy to create a generative model. While this process worked, there were a lot of manual steps involved, and updating geometry involved deleting all previous geometry and then reimporting. We’ve had similar issues with importing geometry to other applications, but Knowledgeware fixes these issues in Catia. By executing a Knowledge Pattern from an updated Excel file, Catia will update geometry which has changed, add new geometry, and delete old geometry no longer in the excel file. The ability to modify panels which have already been edited significantly improves the workflow and allows for flexibility. Also, Knowledgeware’s accessible API offers a lot of potential for having even more control over our data management.

Above is a basic demo for how the workflow is setup. We’ve recently taken a look at pedestrian bridge designs and put together a range of conceptual models demonstrating different bridge construction techniques.
Of the candidates, we’ve taken a particular interest in composite materials, which would be lighter weight, easier to install, and last significantly longer. Composite panels require close attention to joints and how they meet with other materials, so a program like Catia would be an ideal platform for evaluating the bridge for fabrication. While the sample video shows a preliminary sketch, by importing panels from Grasshopper, we can use Catia to apply a material to each panel. It would then be possible to evaluate the weight and structural integrity of the system from the program.

We’re looking forward to the next stage in the process, so stay tuned for more. Many thanks to Thomas Bergeron of Dassault for his willing help and expertise. Also, hats off to the TT Advanced Computational Modeling Group for developing TT Toolbox; the Excel writer is insanely fast.


  • Tim Grimm

    Very cool guys. A question though, are you using baseline Catia or GT Digital Project, the BIM offshoot of Catia?

  • ekatzenstein

    Thanks Tim. We’re using Catia V5 for these studies, not Digital Project.

  • Federico

    Nice workflow!