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A tsunami of glass adds to allure of D.C. waterfront

The nation’s capital has many iconic buildings, but it is not known for standout residential architecture. With height limits and historical preservation restrictions, new housing is generally more meh than wow.

But there is nothing ordinary about Amaris, a 96-unit luxury condominium on the Southwest Waterfront, where it rises 12 stories above the Washington Chanel near the confluence of the Potomac and Anacostia rivers. About 25 percent of the units are still available.

Amaris was designed by world-renowned architect Rafael Viñoly, who died in 2023 and is famous for eye-catching designs. Noteworthy buildings include the Tokyo International Forum, the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia and 432 Park Avenue in New York City, a 96-story luxury condominium, known as the “pencil tower,” that was briefly the world’s tallest residential building and is still one of the most slender skyscrapers in the world.

Aramis is another of Viñoly’s unusually shaped buildings. A process known as cold warping was used to produce lots of curved glass for the exterior, which seems to twist as it rises. The glass also provides a spectacular sense of openness, inviting in the light and the water views. From certain vantage points, the staggered balconies, against the curved facade, resemble Olympic diving platforms, reaching out over the water.

“It creates a dramatic effect that gives you this connectivity with the water,” said Michelle Giannini, principal broker for Hoffman Realty, which is handling condo sales.

All the units have floor-to-ceiling windows and extensive balconies or terraces, most with views of the Capitol and Washington Monument on the west side and Reagan National Airport, East Potomac Park and the Jefferson Memorial on the east side.

Units range from 1,100 to 4,000 square feet, not including outdoor spaces. The condos have one to four bedrooms, at least two bathrooms, and walk-in closets.

Interior spaces by architect Thomas Juul-Hansen take advantage of the light and the sweeping views. Units feature open-concept living areas, airy bedrooms and marble-clad bathrooms with free-standing bathtubs and walk-in showers. They also have custom Italian cabinetry and wide-plank French white oak floors.

All units have gas stoves and full-size washers and dryers.

The building has seven penthouses, including five two-story units with a second level of living space and a secondary kitchen next to a large outdoor terrace with a firepit. The largest penthouse, a 5,800-square-foot unit with four bedrooms and seven bathrooms, sold for nearly $12.8 million in December. It broke the record for a D.C. condo sale and was one of the highest-priced homes sold in the D.C. area in 2023.

The building has a state-of-the-art exercise room, separate studio and treatment rooms, a sauna, and a 25-yard, saltwater lap pool with a skylit cathedral ceiling. Residents can invite friends over for a movie night in the private screening room, with luxury seating and a party space.

In pleasant weather, residents can enjoy an outdoor terrace with three firepits and a pergola-topped dining area with grills.

In all, there is 12,000 square feet of amenity space for 96 units. “There’s nothing like it in D.C.,” Giannini said.

Parking spaces, accessed via a car elevator, come with the units. The number depends on the size of the condo. Valets are available to retrieve vehicles, and the lobby is staffed to accept deliveries. Additional storage units are available for purchase.

Just outside the entrance to the building is The Green, a tree-filled, 1½-acre park, designed by landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh.

Amaris is part of the $12 billion, 74-acre (land and water) Wharf project, which has transformed the city’s long-neglected Southwest Waterfront into a thriving community. More than 10 years in the making, the project includes 14 buildings — offices, apartments, hotels and condos — that line the Wharf Street promenade and overlook four recreation piers.

With 10 acres of parks and other outdoor areas, the Wharf has provided the largest amount of new public space in the nation’s capital since the redesign of the National Mall at the turn of the 20th century.

The grand promenade, scene of outdoor concerts and festivals, draws dog walkers, diners and shoppers, and it stretches a mile from the historic fish market to the Titanic Memorial.

Shopping, dining, culture and nightlife are steps from the building.

The popular D.C. bookseller Politics and Prose, known for readings by top authors, is just across the driveway from Amaris. Arena Stage sits on the other side of Water Street and Anthem, a new concert and live performance venue, is a stroll down the Wharf Street promenade. Dining options (of which there are about 60) include multi-star French,…

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