Born: October 181923;

Died: June 12, 2015.

The Glasgow-born architect James Gowan, who has died aged 92 , was an architect who had a significant influence on contemporary design after his collaboration with James Stirling on their innovative designs for the University of Leicester's Engineering building in 1962, which was hailed as Britain's first postmodernist architecture. It is now Grade 11 listed and was the pair's first major project.

It was the startling, dynamic, red-tiled building in Leicester that brought Gowan and Stirling international renown. Both hailed from Glasgow but their professional partnership did not last and while working on the History Faculty Building in Cambridge (immediately after the Leicester project) Mr Gowan broke the partnership and the two seldom met again.

Mr Gowan was also a noted teacher and had the knack of instructing and inspiring generations of students at the Architectural Association, the Heriot Watt University and the Royal College of Art in London. He was made Bannister Fletcher Professor at University College London in 1975 and held visiting professorships in America.

He encouraged his students to be themselves and avoid accepting the conventional or be slaves to the prevailing orthodoxy of Modernism. He was a demanding - often challenging - lecturer but he inspired many architects - notably Richard Rogers - to become major figures in the profession. He had a ready wit that verged, at times, on the caustic but Mr Gowan recognised talent and encouraged it wholeheartedly.

He was born in Pollokshields, Glasgow and was brought up by his grandparents in Partick after his parents separated. He lived with his mother from the age of 12 and she encouraged his talent for drawing and interest in design. He attended Hyndland School and then studied architecture at the Glasgow School of Art where he became immersed in the Gothic style. He drew a "measured drawing" of the Gothic crypt in Glasgow Cathedral and then submitted a design for a Gothic chapel. Mr Gowan admired the Gothic style because, "it was more functional, more adaptable, you can add to it."

During the war Mr Gowan served in the RAF as a radar mechanic. After being demobbed he completed his studies at Kingston School of Architecture under the tutorship of Philip Powell who later employed Mr Gowan in his architectural practice. There he worked on the design for the famous Skylon tower which became the iconic symbol of the Festival of Britain in 1951 on London's South Bank.

In 1956 Mr Gowan went into partnership with Stirling and their first commission was to design flats in Richmond, Surrey - they were immediately controversial. The flats were beautifully appointed in brown brick and were widely praised - notably by the German architect Reyner Banham. They were regarded as a landmark in the development of brutalist residential architecture - a description that both architects rejected most sternly. But the Richmond flats established for both Gowan and Stirling a reputation as one of the most radical practices of their generation

The Leicester building was an epic undertaking and was conceived by both Gowan and Stirling as a statement of a fresh vision for architecture in Britain. It was designed on a grand scale and demonstrated their clear desire to escape from the orthodox. It stimulated much discussion, caused controversy and the traditionalists were less than impressed.

But the two were not easy partners. Mr Gowan recalled in 2008 that, "Stirling is a classicist and I am a goth," and the two opposing philosophies clashed. For sure it created a dynamic tension but Mr Gowan, always a modest and quiet-mannered man, decided to end the partnership.

But the Leicester building, noted for its technological and geometric character, is now hailed as a classic of the post war era and laid the foundations for a fresh approach to design.

In his book (Stirling and Gowan: Architecture from Austerity to Affluence) Professor Mark Crinson writes, "Stirling and Gowan attempted to make architectural use of this post-industrial mindset in a way that was equally as distinct from the German architect Reyner Banham's second machine age."

Over the subsequent two decades, Mr Gowan worked on municipal projects principally with the problem of housing, realising large schemes in both Greenwich and at East Hanningfield in Essex.

In 1964 Mr Gowan designed a substantial house for the furniture millionaire in Hampstead, Chaim Schreibers. Each floor was carefully arranged by Mr Gowan as an open suite to get a complete vista across Hampstead Heath. He also designed the furniture which was custom-made in Schreiber's factory.

Mr Gowan later designed another Schreiber house in Chester and a delightfully fun bookshop for the Royal College of Art.

In 1946 he married Margaret Barry, whom he had met in the RAF. She died in 2001 and he is survived by their two daughters.