The Inspiring Way One Client Brings Our Work Full Circle

Carpenter in training, Pleasanton

Carpenter in training, Pleasanton

Our client, the Carpenter’s Training Committee for Northern California, wanted their training centers to be state of the art, offering their apprentices an educational environment and training experience consistent with the quality of work the union prides themselves on. RMW designed the facilities where union apprentices are trained to do the work of turning the vision of architects into reality. The fact that buildings designed by RMW for the union, were brought into being by union carpenters, is wonderfully emblematic of bringing something full circle.

The Carpenter’s Union of Northern California

The Carpenter’s Union of Northern California is committed to developing a skilled workforce whose training keeps pace with the evolving technological advances in the industry. The built-to-suit training centers in Fairfield, Morgan Hill, and Pleasanton that were designed by RMW for the Carpenter’s Union help achieve that objective by providing modern classrooms and spacious shop areas that facilitate instruction and learning for a wide range of skills. It is powerful to consider that these same skills are needed to bring our designs to life.

Carpenter in training, Pleasanton

Welding Room, Morgan Hill

Carpenter in training, Pleasanton

Training Centers – From Theoretical to Practical

During the programming phase, RMW studied the Carpenter’s training syllabus and met with training directors and instructors to gain a fuller understanding of the architectural and engineering requirements needed to house the many training functions.

In Pleasanton, the two-story building was designed around the 36,000 square-foot indoor shop. It’s double-height ceiling, which was needed to accommodate training on scissor and boom lift equipment, creates the opportunity for a bird’s-eye view of the shop from the second floor. On the first floor, adjoining classrooms help facilitate a smooth transition between learning environments, enabling apprentices to move effortlessly from theoretical to practical training.

In Morgan Hill, half of the 8 classrooms are situated along the windows to capture the benefits of access to natural light. The other set of classrooms across the hall have doors that lead directly into the 37,500 sf shop area, so that once a skill is introduced, it can be immediately applied through hands-on training.

RMW designers collaborating

Floor Plan: classroom and shop areas, Morgan Hill

Classroom, Morgan Hill

Carpenter Workshop, Morgan HiIl

Acoustical ceiling shop, Pleasanton


The modern design for these projects was achieved through site-cast concrete panels inset with expansive curtainwall glass and pops of industrial metal panel. On the interior the building structure, the framed wood roof, HVAC, and electrical infrastructure are left exposed in areas, and sometimes framed by wood casements that serve to accentuate the training that happens within.

The expert craftsmanship performed by union workers on these buildings is a testament to the high quality of training their members receive, evidence that they are meeting their goal of producing skilled workers who are trained to deliver today’s most in-demand construction services.

Exterior valves for welding gasses, Morgan Hill

Carpenters in training, Pleasanton