Mission Concepción

Mission Concepción
Mission Concepción
Mission Concepción
Mission Concepción
Mission Concepción

About This Project

One of the most attractive of the San Antonio missions, the church at Mission Concepción looks essentially as it did more than 200 years ago when it stood at the center of local religious activity. Founded by Franciscan friars and dedicated in 1755, this is the best preserved of the Texas missions.  Mission Concepción was designated a National Historic Landmark on April 15, 1970. Not visible today are the colorful geometric designs that originally covered the exterior surface of the mission. Inside, however, are original paintings of religious symbols and architectural designs.

Missions Concepción, San Jose, San Juan, and Espada continue to operate as active parishes of the Catholic Church and all are open to the public. Through a cooperative agreement with the Archdiocese of San Antonio, the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park of the National Park Service administers and maintains these missions today.


Challenges There existed two concerns with the church. It is built of local Texas limestone, a very porous material that maintains enough moisture to continuously support parasitic plant life within its cavernous pores. The interior was plastered twice over time, the original colonial plaster was a natural lime-based plaster finished with lime paint and later was over coated with a modern lime based plaster and organically-bound paint. The building envelope managed itself until air conditioning was installed to help stifle the hot humid local climate: the interior walls became cooler causing the moisture in the limestone to move to the interior walls where the organic paint layers created a barrier to the natural movement of the water vapor. The water vapor condensed on the inside of the organic paint layer and began pushing the paint off. The peeling paint opened the plaster to diffusion allowing the water vapor to freely move.
Solutions The requirement for restoring the interior was to remove the organic paint, remove the modern lime plaster, repair the historic colonial plaster, repair flashing and other water infiltration areas, and provide a finish similar in kind to the original historic lime paint that would be compatible with the lime plaster.

Once the historic colonial plaster was revealed it was discovered the paint finish colors were a combination of dark opaque brown ceilings transitioning to a lighter pale yellow transparent finish. The decision was made to replicate the original finish scheme using a silicate based opaque paint for the base coat and a silicate based stain for the finish coat. The transparency of the silicate stain could be controlled with the addition of a silicate dilution in varying amounts.

The method of application was carefully considered and a decision was reached to brush and roll the base coat. The finish coat was brushed to closely mimic the original application method. The decorative elements were applied using opaque silicate paint.
Architect Ford, Powell & Carson, Inc.
1138 East Commerce St
San Antonio, Texas
Contractor Guido Brothers Construction Company
8526 Vidor, San Antonio, Texas
Applicator Vinnie’s Painting
8222 Vicar Ste 1
San Antonio, Texas
Type of Project Places of Worship
Customer San Antonio Texas
Location San Antonio, Texas (United States)
Regional Info