The Montana Society, named in honor of Rome Studies Program founder and longtime School of Architecture Chair Francisco Montana, seeks to organize University of Notre Dame alumni who are passionate about architecture and urban design by providing a platform for increased Connection, Mentorship, and Service.
The Society engages Notre Dame Alumni in architecture, the arts, the building trades, real estate development, and other allied professions through periodic regional and national events in order to support communication, interaction, education, and reunion.
The Society creates opportunities for current students to interact with alumni working in their areas of interest as well as opportunities for alumni to connect with mentors.
The Society fosters community service at the local, national, and international levels allowing alumni and students to give back through architecture.
Frank Montana's Biography
Frank Montana was the fourth Chairman of the School of Architecture, which was known as the Department of Architecture in the College of Engineering in his days. Serving as a professor since 1939 and chair from 1950-1972, Montana helped put Notre Dame architecture on the map and made it more than a mere department.
Frank Montana is touted as being the person who enthusiastically and single-handedly led the school through the transition to modernism, a trend that was slow in Midwest schools at the time. The principles he instilled in his teaching reflect what is now known as Art Deco or Moderne, which brought a diversity and sophistication to the work being taught to and produced by students during that time.
Montana earned a Bachelor of Architecture from New York University in 1933, a diploma from the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design (BAID) in New York, and in 1936, won the BAID’s presitigious Paris Prize. This prize subsidized a year of postgraduate study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, an experience that would forever influence his own work and teaching. Upon his return, BAID put a one-man exhibition of his drawings in New York, earning him a national reputation.
His year in Paris not only gave him a national reputation but also enhanced his familiarity with the BAID teaching system, firsthand knowledge of the Paris Ecole, and an awareness of the international debates surrounding the Ecole method of teaching architecture. It was with this experience and knowledge that Montana began his Notre Dame teaching career.
Montana was not a radical educator, unlike many of his counterparts. He took a more gradual approach to instilling the changing ideals of simplified, columnless classicism in conjunction with Art Deco and Moderne. Under his leadership, architecture at Notre Dame began to set itself apart from other schools of architecture. Montana gracefully led Notre Dame Architecture from its home in Crowley Hall to its present home in the former University Library in 1964. He cemented his legacy and Notre Dame’s distinction as a unique program when he began the Rome Studies Program in 1969.
The principles Montana taught in the classroom came to life on campus as he distinguished himself as an architect, designing the Notre Dame Center for Continuing Education, post office, bookstore, and University Club, as well as other commissions he undertook with his partner Robert J. Schultz. In Jerusalem, he worked for Notre Dame on the buildings of the Ecumenical Institute for Theological Studies, and in South Bend, designed the terminal building for the Michiana Regional Airport.
Montana’s influence on the School of Architecture carries on today as many of his drawings hang around the School and continue to inspire today’s students and with the endowed position of the Frank Montana Professorship, currently held by Prof. and Former Chair Caroll William Westfall.
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