Grasshopper to Catia

LMN has entered into a strategic partnership with Dassault Systèmes.  Together we’re exploring ways in which Dassault software, namely Catia, can enable architectural projects to be richer in complexity and efficiency.

Why Catia and why now?  We’re working on a project which calls for it.  In a previous post on Revit’s Adaptive Components, we described a workflow for adding a doubly-ruled glazing system to Revit from Grasshopper. As we near the completion of construction documentation, we’re looking at specific platforms preferred by curtain wall fabricators. Many of these consultants work with Catia or Inventor for developing manufacture-ready models, so creating a fluid connection between our workflows is a top priority for us. If we can tie the conceptual modeling of Grasshopper with the constraint-based modeling of Catia, we can improve our workflow with consultants and end up with a much better product.
The process we’re using here follows a similar logic to our previous post on adaptive components: a part is created in Catia which is linked to 4 vertices driving the form. The points are imported into the program through Excel, and Power Copy is then used to array the objects into the desired locations.

While there are several manual steps to this workflow, we’ve edited a few macros to have it working smoothly. Power Copy also has a lot of potential because it’s not limited to points, and can be driven by any geometry. If we export curves or even surfaces from Grasshopper, we can use these geometries to drive Catia parameters. This is something we’ll be looking at soon. For now, here’s a demo video showing the process for the fish-scaled facade:

Many thanks to our friends at Dassault, to Dima Chiriacov (for posting Catia videos), and to the programmers of the Power Copy Instantiator macro.

For an update on our progress, check out this post.



  • Hector Camps

    It’s great to see a architectural firms embracing the power of parametric modeling with CATIA and knowledge ware in a Grasshopper/CATIA work flow. Looking forward to seeing the exciting things coming out of LMN.

  • LMNts

    Thanks Hector. We’ll post progress as it develops.