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Sondergotik, German for 'Special Gothic' is an term used to describe the forms of late Gothic architecture in Bavaria, Austria and Bohemia. It is characterised by intricate brick tracery and stonework, high pitched roofs, lancet windows and flying buttresses.

The term was coined by art historian Kurt Gerstenberg to emphasize that German High Gothic style was able to match the developments of French High Gothic.[1]. As the term 'Sondergotik' is generally used in referring to German High Gothic architecture, in considering European architecture as a whole it may be a tautology when literally translated as 'Special', or New Gothic.[2] Sondergotik is contemporaneous with French flamboyant, England perpendicular, Portuguese Manueline and Spanish Isabelline styles. Whilst European High Gothic in general all exhibited a greater attention to detail throughout construction, specific regional features of the Sondergotik include fluidity, wood features, and mass buttressing.

The Sondergotik was initiated by German master builder Heinrich Parler in Schwäbisch Gmünd, and the Parler family diffused this style throughout Bohemia and Southern Germany. It is particularly exemplified in the completion of St. Vitus Cathedral by Peter Parler and his sons, continuing the work of Matthias of Arras.


  1. Kurt Gerstenberg: Deutsche Sondergotik. Delphin, München 1913
  2. Paul Frankl, Gothic Architecture. Penguin Books, Baltimore, MD. 1962. p190