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Luton DART

Luton, UK

Visualisation of completed Luton footbridge from side of motorway with cars travelling underneath

Luton DART

Luton, UK


London Luton Airport Ltd.


2018 - 2021

Client Team

Knight Architects, Arup

Contractor Team

VolkerFitzpatrick, Tony Gee

Signposting a modern airway experience

Like airports, the London Luton Gateway Bridge has been designed as a gateway to a destination. Forming a part of the Airport’s forthcoming rapid transit system, the bridge carries passengers from the proposed Parkway Station directly to the terminal beyond.

An airport is an asymmetric experience; half a journey; a departure or an arrival. As such, an asymmetric structure was sought, which would draw they eye skywards to the journey ahead. Spanning 72m across the busy Airport Way, the truss is primarily viewed from below, against the backdrop of the sky. Its top chord traces a parabola which springs tangentially from the deck, before tapering to a slender profile which appears to fade into the distance. This parabolic elevational rise, combined with the plan-curve of the bridge strikes a dynamic and elegant arc in the sky, which suits the moving viewpoint of the both the road and DART users.

As night falls, the top-chord becomes illuminated with an active-LED system. Unlike traditional lighting systems for gateway bridges, which are illuminated from below, the LED system will be attached directly to the structure and aimed downwards. This allows the lighting system to safely operate in its airport environment, without interfering with the functional lighting behind.

“The installation of the DART bridge is a very significant milestone, not just for the pioneering scheme, but for the town of Luton as a whole”

– Ciaran Scanlon, Service Director for London Luton Airport Ltd
Aeroplane flying over Luton bridge
View on deck of Luton footbridge looking at the arc curving toward the sky
Visualisation of Luton footbridge, from a car travelling on the road below.