Áron Losonczi, a young Hungarian architect, first began testing the possibility of a light transmitting concrete by embedding pieces of glass into a massive block of concrete. With the glass embedded, the concrete acquired a new materiality; its thickness and weight subsided as filtered light passed through.
Since LiTraCon (short for light transmitting concrete) is comprised of only about 5 percent optical fibers and 95 percent fine concrete, the material has almost the same technical data as regular concrete blocks or plates. Thousands of small-diameter fibers run the length of the concrete, and lead light between the block's two surfaces-so effectively a LiTraCon wall can be constructed up to 20 meters thick and still transmit light. The blocks are also load bearing. Losonczi is currently testing and collecting data, which will be available by the end of 2004.
LiTraCon has already moved beyond the prototype stage. With a German business partner, Losonczi has founded the company LiTraCon GmbH, and the first industrial production of the precast blocks and plates has begun. Recently, the first design object-the LTC lamp-was exhibited at the International Furniture Fair IMM 2004 in Cologne, and the LTC wall will be included in the National Building Museum's exhibit entitled Liquid Stone: New Architecture in Concrete, opening June 19, 2004 in Washington. D.C.