Obscure Design Typologies: Fumigation Tents

I think I first saw a fumigation tent in an episode of the X-Files. Much later, they crop up as a plot device in Breaking Bad (maybe fumigation tents are an obsession of BB’s creator and ex-X-Files writer Vince Gilligan).

Fumigation tents are thrown up over a house that has pest infestation. They provide an airtight seal that allows the whole place to be entirely gassed with super noxious chemicals that exterminate any form of life. They seem to be an American phenomenon. Perhaps it’s a function of climate and the totally timber construction of homes that makes American homes that much more likely to be devoured by a host of termites than anywhere else.

There’s something strange about these giant circus-like tents. There is something completely alien about them against the familiar domestic landscape, their scale and candy striped blankness like a giant hole in the streetscape. Yet these weird bright abstractions formally retain something of the houses they cover, as though they were domestic ghosts.

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