Robert Vint, assistant professor of practice in architecture in the College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture at the University of Arizona, was profiled in the Summer 2021 issue of Preservation Magazine for his conservation work on San Xavier del Bac, the landmark “White Dove of the Desert” mission located south of Tucson, Arizona.
The article details the rich history of the mission and Vint’s pursuits to maintain the sanctity of the church. He is currently in charge of restoring the east tower, but has worked on the mission since 1989.
In discussing the importance of maintaining the original architectural design and materials, the article—by focusing on Vint and Miles Green of Patranoto San Xavier, the nonprofit that oversees the preservation nand maintenance of the mission—discusses how such work can be done.
For example, Vint explains that an earlier rejuvenation of the structure used concrete to cover the adobe exterior. The current preservation work will scrape off the concrete to reveal the underlying adobe to add compatible materials.
Vint has been a part of this process for 32 years. “Almost half my life has been dedicated to this,” he says in the article. “To this day, San Xavier is the most stunning work of architecture in Southern Arizona, and it was built 230 years ago.”
The current restoration project, projected to cost $1 million, is expected to be completed in spring 2022.
Vint, who joined CAPLA in 2011, is an architect with a regional practice based in Tucson. He has completed numerous projects in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and California and in Sonora, Mexico, focused on community design, historic preservation and urban infill development. He is principal co-author of Southwest Housing Traditions: Design, Materials, Performance. At CAPLA, he teaches a seminar on arid region urbanism in Arizona and Sonora.