THE FACTORY OF THE FACTORIES
In the Vila Leopoldina neighborhood, located on the west side of the capital of São Paulo, there are facilities and buildings from an important moment in the industrial history of the country and of Votorantim. Metalúrgica Atlas is a symbol of a new landscape that was established in São Paulo and Brazil in the first decades of the 20th century.
Metalúrgica Altas equipment and machinery, 1960s
The ideas and activities that would give rise to Metalúrgica Atlas started in the midst of a difficult moment: with the outbreak of the Second World War (1939-1945), restrictions on imports, financing and technology development emerged, which hampered the industrial advance in the country and Votorantim.
It was at this time that workers at Votorantim’s mechanical workshop started to develop and produce alternative parts and technologies for the Group’s internal needs.
The work was so successful that the workshop started to stand out as a business unit. In 1944, an autonomous company would then be created: Metalúrgica Atlas, an innovative industry of special heavy equipment that started to solve not only the technological bottlenecks faced by the company, but also to meet external demands.
It was in the 1970s and 80s, however, that Atlas played its most significant role. With the wave of expansions by Votorantim in those years, the factory met great demands. At that time, then with 650 employees, the company came to be known as the “factory of the factories”. Among its products were electric ovens, rotary kilns for cement, various parts and equipment, which served Siderúrgica Barra Mansa, the cement factories Santa Helena and Portland Rio Branco, Cia Brasileira de Alumínio, among others. In the same period, Atlas also opened branches in different parts of the country.
The company operated until 2014. And today, in one of its buildings, there is the Votorantim Memory.
President of CSN Lino Meira visits Metalúrgica Atlas. In the image we see Antônio Ermírio de Moraes and Clóvis Scripilliti, 1961
JAGUARÉ INDUSTRIAL CENTER AND THE NEW URBAN LANDSCAPE
Although it was born to meet an internal demand from Votorantim, Metalúrgica Atlas is part of a historical and urban context that marked São Paulo.
From the end of the 19th century and during the first decades of the 20th century, Brazilian society became very dynamic, leading to the growth of cities and their population. Rio de Janeiro, then capital, and São Paulo took the lead in modernization processes.
In São Paulo, in the region where the neighborhoods of Vila Leopoldina and Jaguaré are located, there was a large farm that belonged to Companhia Suburbana Paulista, created by engineer Ramos de Azevedo, who performed land allotment in the city and was one of the founders of the School Polytechnic, the city’s first engineering school, and responsible for important architectural works in the capital of São Paulo such as the Teatro Municipal, Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo and the Mercado Municipal.
Antonio Ermírio de Moraes at Shibaura, the largest lathe of Metalúrgica Atlas, s.d.
Technical drawing showing the general structure of the Vila Leopoldina Industrial Center (former Jaguaré Industrial Center), 1946
In 1935 the engineer Henrique Dumont Villares, nephew of the aviator Alberto Santos Dumont, acquires the land of the farm and formulates what is considered one of the first planned industrial neighborhoods in the city. In his initial project, the engineer divides the region into industrial, commercial and residential areas, to make better use of the local topography, as these areas would be linked to important neighborhoods in the city of São Paulo. The industrial district was inspired by others of the same type, such as “The Central Manufacturing District” in Chigago, USA. In addition, the Vila Leopoldina Industrial Center (former Jaguaré Industrial Center) would be connected with all the main railway lines in the State of São Paulo and the main highways, in addition to being located at the confluence of the Tietê and Pinheiros rivers, thus facilitating the flow of the goods produced there.
New times – The Votorantim Memory follows the history of Vila Leopoldina, like so many others of the company. Votorantim is currently involved in the Vila Leopoldina Urban Intervention Project (PIU), which proposes new uses for the region. Knowing this story is also building your future.