university of pennsylvania; palestra building historic door replacementacademic
The Palestra, often called the Cathedral of College Basketball, is a historic arena and gym for University of Pennsylvania Quakers indoor sports, including basketball, volleyball and wrestling. The Palestra opened in 1927 as one of the largest arenas in the world. The large, brown-brick and stone structure was one of the first arenas in the country to use steel and concrete support systems in its construction. Because it used this type of structure, it was one of the first arenas without interior support pillars blocking the spectators’ views. As one of dozens of projects completed for UPenn, W+CO designed the replacement and refurbishment of 44 monumental steel doors lining the exterior of the arena. The new doors were custom-made as modern versions of the original Palestra doors with true divided-light glass panes and semi-circular “fan light” windows above each door. W+CO ensured that the new doors were historically accurate while also being compliant with current codes for life safety and accessibility standards. Construction costs for the door replacement project was $750,000.