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Lou Harrison House 's Profile
Lou   Harrison House
Last Updated:
Joshua Tree, California, United States
Climate Zone:
Hot Desert
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Agroecology Map Marie Jones
Geoff Lawton
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About Lou Harrison House

The Joshua Tree Foundation for Arts & Ecology at Lou Harrison House is dedicated to the practice and teaching of drylands permaculture and to providing a place for artists to explore the intersection of art and ecology.
Lou Harrison House is a residency and performance program for international artists and environmental activists established in 2006. Based in the late composer Lou Harrison’s desert retreat in Joshua Tree, California, the program awards great minds with the time to create and share their very best work in an historic and inspiring setting. Tucked away in the vast desert landscape near the border of Joshua Tree National Park, the majestic composers’ cave Harrison built for himself and his friends in 2002, inspires artists and audiences though this innovative program. At the age of eighty-four, despite the death of William Colvig, his life partner of thirty-five years, Harrison built his dream home, a straw bale artist retreat in the desert. The structure features a vaulted great room proportionately designed as a superb and intimate sound environment for music which many call his last and finest instrument. Today Lou Harrison House stands as a monument to Lou Harrison’s lifetime of experimentalism, activism, concern for the environment, and commitment to encouraging creativity in others. As Lou Harrison’s close associate and a producer, director and performer of over 40 years, Eva Soltes was uniquely poised to conceive and carry out a program inspired by his creation. Upon the composer’s passing, Eva purchased the building from Lou’s longtime friend and former partner Remy Charlip who inherited it. She has decorated and furnished the house with Harrison’s own possessions and art that she inherited from him. In 2006 Lou Harrison House program was launched with a music performance by Terry Riley intended to honor Lou. It has since evolved into Joshua Tree Foundation for Arts & Ecology. In 2016, Lou Harrison House opened a new Arts & Ecology site to be a place for regenerative ecological learning and practice.

We are committed to practicing & teaching accessible home-scale solutions for:
– Sustainable water usage
– Local food production
– Building soil fertility and sequestering carbon
Our current projects include: 
– Rainwater-harvesting earthworks to support native trees for food, shade & wind protection
– Rooftop-rainwater-harvesting systems
– Greywater-fed “oasis zones” for fruit production
– Soil regeneration
– Propagation of edible and medicinal native plant species
– Water-efficient vegetable gardening systems
– Growing the local culture of ecological awareness and stewardship
– Arts and Environment residencies and volunteer programs


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