The Palestra


University of Pennsylvania, The Palestra - Philadelphia, PA


JBL, BSS, Crown

Client's Goals

The Palestra, University of Pennsylvania's basketball arena which is often referred to as the "Cathedral of College Basketball," is home to the college's basketball, wrestling, and volleyball teams. It is one of the most classic and prestigious basketball venues in the country and also hosts the Philadelphia Big 5 basketball. With such a rich history, the college wanted to be sure its sound system lived up to the Palestra's distinguished name.

That's why Clair Solutions was called in to design and build a system with even and articulate coverage in this highly reverberant gymnasium.

Project Details & The Clair Solutions Difference

Since the customer wanted to reuse the existing rigging and motor systems for raising and lowering the speaker clusters, Clair's extensive experience in rigging was critical. The Palestra was built in 1926, so structural issues were a top priority; in order to minimize side pull on the existing beams, the company developed a custom two-layer grid from which to fly the speakers. The system included 30 x JBL VRX932 main array cabinets, 8 x JBL ASB6118 sublows, BSS BLU 160 processing, and Crown MAi series amplifiers.

This custom solution required careful engineering and meticulous testing to guarantee safety and functionality. Clair Solutions' 22,000ft2 demonstration facility provided the perfect space to test-hang the system and make tweaks prior to installing it on-site.

In addition to the structural challenges, the scheduling of this project was tight. Not only did the installation work have to be performed around summer camps and team practices, but it also had to be finished before the college's fall semester began. Working with University of Pennsylvania staff, Ryan Rose and Noah Gustkey, the Clair team was able to ensure the project stayed on schedule and budget. From start to finish, the project took only nine weeks to complete, just in time for students to arrive on campus.