As the Forty Acres expanded well beyond its original boundaries, the idea of a formal entrance for the south side of the growing campus began to emerge.
Now, after years of planning, a new stone plaza and gateway to the campus is ready for your Tower selfies at the intersection of University Ave. and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
The centerpiece of the plaza is an 11-foot Cordova cream limestone sign, crafted by stone carver Matthew Johnson of Bartlett Stone in Southeast Austin. The entrance plaza also features seating and two bronze university seals, to complement the iconic view of the Tower.
In 2014 Dyal and Partners was retained by the university to develop a comprehensive academic brand identity — distinct from both the well-known Longhorn silhouette and the university’s seal — that could be implemented in the colleges, schools and units across campus.
As campus entities were busy updating their stationery and websites to reflect the updated logo, Johnson was choosing the proper piece of stone to carve the new font, GT Sectra, into. GT Sectra is a contemporary serif typeface that combines the calligraphy of the broad nip pen with the sharpness of the scalpel knife. It was chosen for its legibility and as a nod to academia. This marks the first time the font has ever been carved into stone.
“You can’t add stone after you’ve cut it away.” —Matthew Johnson
Take a closer look at the stone carving process in the video below, as Johnson talks about the challenges of working with a new font and the tools of the trade.