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The Glass Temple, a few kilometers from the shore of the Horn of Africa, the magical, technological, and economical hub of Africa, has gained recognition from all around East Africa and Arabia.

Like the name implies, it is a giant temple made entirely out of glass. Inside the temple, there are libraries, mysterious rooms where mysterious people do mysterious things, a small university, and prayer rooms. Considering the fact that magic exists, what would be a reason for this glass temple to exist?

Magic System:
Magic is transformation/conversion of energy from one's own soul
"Programming" magic is possible through complex seals and storing bits of soul within the seals
Physics mostly apply
Sunlight does not fuel magic

Setting:
Pre-medieval mundane technology, but magical advances allow for use of things like electricity in a magical context

Edits:
1) The answer doesn't necessarily have to relate to magic, but magic can be used to give the glass properties that it might not normally have

2) I edited the rules of the magic system to exclude fueling magic from sunlight

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Cort Ammon, Thucydides, Hohmannfan, type_outcast, Aify Oct 11 '16 at 19:35

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ This could use an update to avoid being too opinion based. We know almost nothing about your magic system, so we know almost nothing about why glass might be a good thing, or why a temple might be a good thing. What are you looking to get from fellow WorldBuilders? $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Oct 11 '16 at 16:59
  • $\begingroup$ Has the question been updated, my answer seems invalid but I'm sure it was fine earlier? $\endgroup$ – Bellerophon Oct 11 '16 at 17:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Bellerophon yes, but not entirely invalid. I like your light and heating answers $\endgroup$ – One Normal Night Oct 11 '16 at 17:10
  • $\begingroup$ Just some fun facts. I think my favorite benefit of a glass structure is the fun you can have with Smart glass. Basically, glass that can be quickly and programmatic adjusted to alter its light, glare, and heat properties. (see the linked wiki article for more details.) $\endgroup$ – Tezra Oct 11 '16 at 19:50
  • $\begingroup$ My second favorite thing is prismatic art (linked a picture). I just think some of them look really cool. X3 $\endgroup$ – Tezra Oct 11 '16 at 19:51
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I suggest it is there for the following reasons: 1) Light - People read in libraries and write at Universities, studying requires reading and writing and reading and writing require light. Candles and fires are expensive and provide little light so during the day you want maximum daylight to save on candles.

2) Teaching/research aid - The glass could be magically enhanced so it can display things zoomed in like a microscope or far away like a telescope or maybe even other people so you can do collaborative research like a Skype Call.

3) Heating - Greenhouses are warm due to being made of glass. The glass in your temple will materially warm up the inside. In Africa this may be a disadvantage due to the heat outside already being high but you could remove the disadvantage by opening the doors/windows. If the climate got colder though this glass temple would remain warmer than the surroundings so it might be a useful thing at night.

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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The Horn of Africa is already the hottest place on earth, so the greenhouse effect here is a very significant disadvantage. $\endgroup$ – kingledion Oct 11 '16 at 17:25
  • $\begingroup$ Magic cooling rather than just doors and windows might be required. $\endgroup$ – Bellerophon Oct 11 '16 at 19:52
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SECURITY Anyone in the temple has little privacy. Glass cuts down on vandalism and/or unsafe magical practices. And if someone does something dangerous, medical attention is easier to signal.

VENTING Glass radiates energy well (or can, depending upon the type of glass). If a spell runs away, the glass might bleed off energy easier than other materials. Not the best material for such things... I'm not an architect... I don't know the relative price vs ease of construction of glass.

AESTHETICS Glass is just pretty.

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The best reason to make a temple out of glass has nothing to do with the magical system. It is a conspicuous display of wealth and power, it would be very impressive and confer prestige on those running the place and those responsible for it's construction.

This would be especially true of a pre-modern society where glass was a luxury item only normally found in small quantities in things like cups, beads, or other jewelry.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass#History_of_silicate_glass

If it required special magics to construct, this would also provide proof of the ability of those running the establishment as a visible demonstration of their magical power.

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Glass might be required for magic. For instance you might need light when doing your magic. Or for isolation - to prevent magic from escaping. Or as a safety system - to block devils from escaping after they are invoked.

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