Among the different architectural features of Greek gymnasia the peristylarpalaestra type is outstanding both for its ubiquity and for its early appearance. Throughout the last 20 years the emergence of this building type has been securely dated to the 4th century BC (H. von Hesberg; Chr. Wacker; R. von den Hoff). However, the overall success of this architectural form is not satisfyingly explained yet. Therefore, in my paper I want to focus on the question why the palaestra was considered an adequate architectural solution for late-classical and Hellenistic gymnasia. On the one hand, the sudden emergence of these buildings seems to imply a shift in the requirements of gymnasiac architecture during the early 4th century that needs to be addressed. On the other hand, it seems that the emergence of the palaestra as a distinctive architectural type is closely related to some more general developments in public Greek architecture and town-planning of this period. This becomes clear from contemporary discussions about city-planning (Aristotle, Plato, Aeneas Tacticus etc.) as well as from the architectural development of other public institutions such as theatres, dining facilities, bouleuteria or agorai. By exploring the balance between these two aspects it should be possible to explain the overall success of the palaestra type as an integral part of Greek gymnasia throughout the Mediterranean.