Reflections of a Seasoned Architect

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As I find the reflections as a seasoned architect firmly planted in my mid-40s, I can’t help but reflect on the journey that has led me to this point in my career as an architect. It’s a journey filled with highs, lows, and unexpected turns, but most importantly, it’s a journey that has brought me to a place of clarity and contentment.

Exploring Diverse Opportunities

Throughout my career, I’ve had the privilege of experiencing a wide array of opportunities. From working abroad to designing and overseeing the construction of sizable buildings, I’ve indulged my passion for architecture in ways I never thought possible. Yet, as I stand at this juncture, I find myself contemplating the notion of fulfillment and what it truly means to me.

Shifting Perspectives: From Grandeur to Intimacy

There was a time when I harbored aspirations of designing skyscrapers, envisioning myself at the helm of large-scale projects with a team of dedicated individuals by my side. However, as the years have passed, my perspective has shifted. The allure of grandeur and scale has waned, giving way to a desire for something more intimate and personal.

Embracing Authenticity over Entrepreneurial Pursuits

The truth is, the prospect of running my own firm or assuming a leadership role no longer holds the appeal it once did. While I entered this profession with a passion for design and creation, the administrative burdens and commercial aspects of entrepreneurship leave me cold. The thought of navigating the intricacies of business management detracts from my core focus – the art of architecture itself.

dreaming of skyscrapers

Choosing Personal Passion over External Expectations

Some may view my disinterest in founding a firm as a missed opportunity, but to me, it’s a conscious choice rooted in self-awareness and authenticity. I’ve witnessed firsthand the demands and sacrifices required to build and sustain a successful business, and frankly, it’s a path I have no desire to pursue. Instead, I find myself drawn to the idea of creating something of my own, not for the accolades or financial gain, but simply for the joy of it. Whether it’s designing and constructing a personal project to sell or rent, the prospect of exercising my creativity on my own terms excites me in a way that traditional career milestones no longer do.

Prioritizing Freedom and Artistic Expression

Inevitably, there are those who question my lack of ambition when it comes to owning a home of my own. Yet, the truth is, the notion of settling down in a fixed location holds little appeal to me. My priorities lie elsewhere – in the pursuit of artistic expression and the freedom to explore new opportunities without being tethered to a single place.

A Testament to a Life Well-Lived

To some, my sentiments may come across as disillusioned or cynical, but I prefer to see them as a testament to a life well-lived and a career fully embraced. Architecture, for all its challenges and triumphs, has been a source of fulfillment and purpose throughout my journey. And while the allure of grand ambitions may have faded, the passion for creating beauty in the world remains as vibrant as ever.


reflections of an architect

Renewed Commitment to Authenticity

So, as I embark on this new chapter of my career, I do so with a sense of gratitude for the experiences that have shaped me and a renewed commitment to following my own path, wherever it may lead. For in the end, true fulfillment lies not in the pursuit of external validation, but in the pursuit of authenticity and self-expression. And that, dear reader, is a journey worth embarking on.


Pursuit of passion


Final Reflection

As this architect reflects on their journey, they find themselves at a crossroads where traditional notions of success no longer hold the same appeal. Instead, they embrace a newfound desire for simplicity and creative autonomy, choosing to follow a path that aligns with their authentic self. This decision may seem unconventional to some, but for the architect, it signifies a commitment to personal fulfillment over external expectations. Ultimately, their journey serves as a reminder that true fulfillment is found not in the pursuit of societal ideals, but in the pursuit of authenticity and creativity. As they embark on this new chapter of their career, they do so with a sense of purpose and a determination to honor their own unique path, wherever it may lead.


📐Russell M. Henderson is a practicing RIBA Chartered Architect based in Tanzania, East Africa.

🎥Russell (Architect Russell) also makes videos on YouTube , TikTok Instagram & Skillshare  sharing thoughtful, honest and pragmatic knowledge while working and living abroad.

Architect Russell Uncensored is podcast also available on YouTube, talking about an architect’s life unfiltered. The education of 7 years to controversial topics such as RIBA and ARB, to unusual architect experience abroad like in Bangkok and Tanzania. This is content never before released on any platform and you can only get it here first. The truth through the eyes of Architect Russell, unfiltered and uncensored.


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