Announcing the 2017 Winner of the Haas/Koshland Memorial Award

Andrew Wilson

“As an aspiring architect, I treasure the sounds and spaces of ancient and modern buildings. I believe that my ambition to study the architecture, acoustics, and theologies of sacred spaces will find resonance within the ancient and modern cultures that converge in Israel. I am deeply honored to have been selected for the Haas/Koshland Memorial Award, and am so excited to live next year in Jerusalem!”

Andrew Wilson’s enthusiasm for his unique project in Israel was one of the deciding factors that led to his selection as the 2017 recipient of the annual Haas/Koshland Memorial Award, which provides up to $20,000 to an outstanding young adult – from or attending school in the Bay Area – to support a year of personal or professional development in Israel.

Andrew is currently a senior at the University of San Francisco, finishing his degree in Architecture and Community Design, while pursuing minors in Theology and Religious Studies, as well as Architectural Engineering, and a certificate in Technology and Design for the performing arts. While in school, he was also a bass in the University of San Francisco’s classical choir, at one time performing a repertoire of Jewish, Islamic, and Christian pieces.

Although Andrew’s mother is Jewish, he was raised Christian and attended church regularly. There were nods to Judaism in his upbringing, including celebrations of Chanukah and Passover, but only recently has he gained a keen interest in exploring his Jewish identity. During a trip to India in 2016, he was longing for something familiar and sought out a Bene Israel congregation, where he took part in a Seder that included Haggadah readings in Hebrew, Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi, and English. It was his first time in a synagogue and the experience was transformational, inspiring him to travel to Israel and learn more about his Jewish identity. His interest in architectural acoustics coupled with his desire to discover his Jewish roots made the Haas/Koshland Memorial Award the perfect opportunity for him.

Andrew plans to use his Haas/Koshland Memorial Award to conduct studies on how sacred buildings respond to sound, particularly in Jerusalem. His study will focus on three places of worship: a synagogue, a church, and a mosque, surveying the sonic behavior of their interiors using a sound level meter. Andrew hopes to use his findings to compare the relationship between worship traditions and architectural sound acoustics, and how one affects the other. Ultimately, he hopes to show how religious practices transcend the individual and the congregation and shape a building’s architecture, and how the building’s architecture shapes the congregation.

About the Haas/Koshland Award

The Haas/Koshland Memorial Award was established in 1982 in memory and honor of Walter A. Haas, Sr. and Daniel E. Koshland, Sr. In their life-long generosity, these men helped shape the structure of our Jewish community. Their keen interest in quality education and young people made them well-known and well-respected in the Bay Area and throughout the world. A great deal of their time, diligence and generosity was directed toward the intellectual, medical and social betterment of the community. Their legacy lives on in the motivation and talent embodied by candidates for the Award. "There are no strings attached to the award,” says Frances Geballe, Koshland's daughter and former chair of the Haas/Koshland Committee. “We simply want to create a program that is of value to students, their universities and Israel – all of which were important to Daniel Koshland and Walter Haas."


May 02, 2017