India, Feb. 23 -- A little over 100 years ago, the British architect-town planner Edward Lutyens was given a rather significant brief - to design the imperial seat of power and its environs in the newly formed Indian capital city, New Delhi. Today, as the Central Vista redevelopment project aims to revisit Rajpath and the Central Vista avenue and build new structures to suit the needs of modern governance, the vision of Lutyens-and his partner, Herbert Baker - has become a subject of much debate.

While it is true that Lutyens had a strong sense of history and the design of his public buildings in Delhi, such as the Rashtrapati Bhavan, is deeply influenced by their location, it is also important to remember that the architect was prodigio...