Bristol Doors Open Day is a once a year opportunity to go behind the scenes, inside, above and underneath some of the most inspiring and thought-provoking places, spaces and buildings in Bristol.

For the first time ever the event is set over two days, Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th of September. From 10am to 4pm visitors can roam the streets exploring venues not normally open to the public, and enjoy the special tours and activities on offer – all free of charge. There will even be Vintage Buses offering a free nostalgic ride to get around the city on Saturday.

“Digital tech is changing the nature of work, and therefore workplaces”


With 81 places in total (full venue listing available here), TechSPARK caught up with project coordinator Anna Farthing to find out what’s on offer for techies. Anna tells us, “It offers a lens to explore workplaces, and look at how digital tech is changing the nature of work, and therefore workplaces.”

Whistle-stop tech tour

For techies, a great place to kick off is the Filwood Green Business Park (venue 03, BS4 1ET, Saturday 10am – 4pm).


Visitors can see how the facility brings together digital fabrication technology and community-led enterprise by fusing art and tech to create bespoke products that are sustainable and desirable.

The building itself is something to behold, having been awarded an ‘Outstanding’ status in environmental standards, it is unique and specially built to the highest green specifications.

If you are keen to know more about workplace design, the next stop on the tour is Bristol Water’s iconic 1960s headquarters (venue 04, BS13 7AT, Saturday tours 12pm, 2pm, 3pm). During the half hour tour you can see how the refurbished building showcases the best in modern office design and environmental performance standards. Tea and coffee will be provided, but do get your booking in quickly as the 11am viewing is already full.

With only half the tours already fully booked, fin-tech business Computershare (venue 05, BS13 8AE, Saturday tours 1pm, 1.30pm, 2pm, 2.30pm) is a top destination for the tech-enthusiasts. Tours will be led by Computershare staff members around The Pavilions – a unique architectural treasure in the heritage of both Bristol and the nation. Historic England described the building as “an excellent example of a low-energy commercial building of the 1970s.”

“It’s the cutting-edge digital companies that are ‘greening’ the workplace”


The Computershare headquarters were originally created for the electricity board, built in low-rise style with the idea that people can see the greenery and landscape that surrounds it. Anna tells us, “It’s not what people expect! The workplace is very green, with gardens and bees. It’s the cutting-edge digital companies that are ‘greening’ the workplace.”

triodos-bankA modern addition to Bristol’s green and ethical forefront is Triodos bank (venue 06, BS1 5AS, Saturday tours every hour 10am-3pm). With its ethos all about innovation, excellence and entrepreneurship, you can discover the careful planning and ecological research that shaped this building, and the company’s aims to reflect the banking of the future.

Do not miss a visit to TechSPARK’s home, the Engine Shed (venue 43, BS1 6QH, Saturday & Sunday tours 10am & 2pm). At Bristol & Bath’s tech and creative incubation space you can find out about their plans for the future and the developments in the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone.

“Brunel’s buildings all represent a spirit of entrepreneurship, innovation and technology”


Engine Shed, BristolAnna tells us, “Brunel’s buildings all represent a spirit of entrepreneurship, innovation and technology. Brunel’s ambition and fearlessness in inventorship is at the heart of its design and ethos. From a Bristol point of view, it shows the legacy of Brunel – looking at the organisations that come to the city to be part of the culture he set up.”

She adds, “I’m particularly interested in the perspective of people who are interested in digital, tech, art and engineering, and exploring the relationship between what is happening in virtual space and what is happening in real space.”

The website has a full list of venues, updates and further information. Advance booking is required for some tours and activities, see individual entries in the programme and on the website. Other tours do not require pre-booking, though numbers may be limited. You can sign up for email updates and the latest news on how to book by contacting them on Twitter and using the hashtag #BristolDOD

[Image credit:  © Architecture Centre]