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Interpreters slam £22m Fosters building as 'pointless'


Interpreters have labelled their working conditions in Foster and Partners' Congress Centre in Valencia, Spain, as among the worst in the world.

The £22 million Congress Centre, completed in 1998 and known locally as 'The Titanic', has been billed as a state-of-the-art international conference facility.

But experienced interpreter Tore Fauske told the AJ that fellow workers agree the building is flawed: 'If any professional interpreter was consulted in connection with the design, ' he said, 'their advice was certainly totally disregarded.'

Fauske, who worked in the building for the first time last year, compared it to the 'abysmally awful' conditions at the National Conference Centre in Birmingham.

'Sitting in the meeting hall in Valencia, the design may look good, but it's pretty pointless from our point of view, ' he said. 'If good looks is all that matters, fine. But is not good architecture about more than just good looks?'

Fauske claims the orientation of the interpreters' booths, which are positioned sideways on, restricts crucial views of the delegates speaking on the stage below.

However, Foster's project architect Juan VieiraPardo claimed he was unaware of any complaints.

He said he had consulted the International Association of Conference Interpreters and the arrangement of the booths was 'completely normal' and responded to the function of the building.

He added that the International Association of Congress Centres had named the structure as the third best conference building in the world.

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