The brain behind Unity Square: Kogan Kuare

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As the country’s top leaders take the limelight during the commissioning of the Unity Square – Kogan Kuare – takes the back seat, unnoticed and most probably unknown to a lot of the guests.

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In the thick of the joyous occasion, Kuare sits soundlessly observing the leaders admiring the Unity Square, which is now hailed as Honiara’s newest iconic landmark. But many don’t realise that the beautiful creation is the work of the Isbaellian who sits unnoticed during the entire ceremony.

The gently spoken architect Kuare is the brain behind the Unity Square after winning the right to design the Unity Square, which hosts the Pacific’s tallest flag-pole.

The Unity Square has been a hot topic on social media since it was revealed that it would host the tallest flag-pole in the region and since yesterday’s commissioning it’s the most photographed object in Honiara as Solomon Islands celebrates its 42nd birthday since becoming independent from Britain in 1978.

Speaking exclusively to SBMOnline, Kuare said: “I am happy to design the project especially being a Solomon Islander.”

Kuare was picked by Solomon Islands Ports Authority for his impressive submission.

He recalls that the initial idea of a unity square belongs to Solomon Ports and he was only depicting it into reality.

“Given what our country has gone through, especially the tension, Ports wanted me to come up with a design that pulls us together as a nation— so I came up with the concept of the square,” Kuare told this magazine.

 He explains that the Unity Square concept rotates around three design elements, the ocean, our culture and Port itself.

“I based the design on the ripple of water with a hole in the middle and it ripples out – and they are the stairs,” he explains the elements in the base of the square.

Asked why the flag-pole is high as 50 meters he replies: “It is an idea that Ports wants to be part of the design and it is very safe.”

He reveals that the 50-metre pole is like a straw because there’s nothing inside.

“It is light. It can withstand earthquake and strong win. If it is heavy (filled inside) then we have an issue with it,” he points out.

The Unity Square designed by Kuare was built by an Australian company.

Asked how long it took him to design the Unity Square, he replies “about a month.”

He further reveals that the flag-pole will stand for a very long time except for the carvings because they are exposed to sunlight and rain. According to Kuare the carvings depict the daily life of Solomon Islanders regardless of where one comes from.

About his education, Kuare spent all of his high school at Selwyn College before attending Unitec of Papua New Guinea in Lae— where he graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture and Master’s Degree in Construction Engineering from Hokaido University in Japan. He has been practicing for the past five years.

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