The only reason to give this book one star is because it's not possible here to give it no stars at all. While it is true that the photographs are marvelous--and the reason I chose this book in the first place-- the diatribe by Juan Jose Lahuerta is unpleasant in the extreme, and written by someone who admittedly feels passionately about both this remarkable house and its architect: he hates them both. It is one thing to point out, in a balanced review of a building, the building's failings. But if that is all an author sees, then it makes one wonder why he bothered to write the book in the first place. For those of us coming to the building because it is so arresting, so remarkable, so unusual, even breathtaking, reading page after page of vile is nothing short of awful, a sort of prose-vomit. Juan Jose Lahuerta doesn't like Gaudi, he doesn't like Casa Battlo, he has contempt for the clients who asked for its design and construction. His political views seep into and color his bile, and what we want, we who have not spent years and years considering architecture, researching the back story of buildings and architects, what we want is simply a bit of context-- how did this building come to be? Why was it made the way it was? Who are the people responsible for its design? How was it received at the time--more than a century ago-- it was created? The building is on the World Heritage list, hundreds, sometimes thousands of people view it daily and those people do not, I assure you, recoil in horror at the imagined faults and defects of the building. It is a complete irony that this book is sold in the very pleasant store full of knicknacks and other books that celebrate the building and its architect. As for Juan Jose Lahuerta, I suspect he has IBS or a permanent case of class warfare grumps-- There is virtually nothing (not nothing, just mostly nothing) in his screed worth reading-- though the well-chosen photographs and illustrations sprinkled throughout are well worth the look.
In short: avoid this book as though you would ebola. It's just as nasty and undesirable, and there are other far more worthy books on the same subjects-- Gaudi and this building--waiting to grace your bookshelves.