This striking red brick house built into a hill at the highest point in Whiteleaf was designed by an architect who forever will be associated with one of the profession’s most coveted awards.

The annual Royal Institute of British Architects’ Stirling Prize for innovative design that’s fit for purpose is named after James Stirling whose signature modernist style in later years didn’t go down well with Prince Charles.

In 1987 the Prince of Wales dismissed Stirling’s post modernist design for an office block on a triangular plot at Number One Poultry in London as an ‘old 1930s wireless.’

The four bedroom house called Chiltern Ridge was among the first if not the first commission the 30 year old architect received after he established his practice in partnership James Gowan in 1956.

The pair met when they were working at the London firm of Lyons, Israel, Ellis, considered one of the most influential post war practices at that time.

The 21stcentury homestead Stirling designed on a plot of just over an acre in the leafy Chiltern hamlet is for sale this weekend through Hamptons International in Great Missenden with a guide price of £1,150,000.

The house was commissioned by Mr Kissa, a Greek businessman with London connections.

It has four bedrooms, two bathrooms, three reception rooms, farmhouse sized kitchen with a walk in larder, separate boot room and two cellars.

Stirling went on to become one of the best known architects in the profession, not just in the UK but worldwide.

His early projects included the Florey accommodation block for Queen’s College, Oxford, the History Faculty Library for Cambridge University and student housing at St Andrew’s. Public buildings were his forte.

During the 1970s he designed three museums in Germany. There’s one in Dusseldorf, another in Cologne and the third is in Stuttgart. In 1987 he won the RIBA gold medal “in recognition of past achievements.”

The architect died in 1992 aged 66 less than a month after his knighthood was announced in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

He was admitted to hospital with a painful hernia three days after the list was published and died on the operating table two and a half weeks later.

The present owners are the fourth since the Whiteleaf house was built in 1957. They bought it in 1975.

“Being the Chilterns we were expecting to buy a brick and flint cottage but instead chose this large modern house built into the hillside. It’s orientated to capitalise on the views. My husband looked at it and said ‘This is all about its position.’

“Looking at it from the road now, you can see it has the hallmarks of a house designed by James Stirling.

“One day in June 2006, I opened the door to a man standing on the step who introduced himself as a great fan of Stirling’s. He turned out to be Professor Mark Crinson, a senior lecturer in architecture at Manchester University.

“He was so excited to find Stirling’s Chiltern House as it became known. He’d spent some time trying to trace where it was. He immediately recognised the distinguishing features. He’s written books on the subject.”

Inside and out, the difference is in the detail. “The bricks have other colours worked into the mix, the lime mortar varies in colour, so do the footings, the foundations of the house. The bricks were handmade by a firm in Bedford.

“Stirling shaped and placed windows according to how they would work best in the room, that’s why some are vertical and some horizontal. He thought about the most likely arrangement of furniture, where the light would fall. That was more important to him in his design for this house than overall symmetry.

“The windows are double glazed which was almost unheard of in the mid-1950s, the frames are hardwood; they’re set back into the wall to minimise rain damage.

“Not many houses had central heating in that era, this one had warm air central heating – we’ve changed it to a wet system because it’s an improvement but to have central heating at a time when most new houses still relied on a boiler in the kitchen and open fires for heating and hot water is an example of his foresight.

“As soon as we stepped inside we noticed how the rooms flow from one to another. There’s no wasted space

“After we moved in, we became known locally as the people who’d bought the house designed by the architect. ‘That’s the architect’s house,’ they’d nod.”

In 1977 the new owners extended the dining room and the two bedrooms above lengthways into the garden to create more space without changing the floorplan.

They had the bricks made by the same company Stirling used 20 years earlier - “the man who delivered them remembered making the originals” - and they used the same builders.

“Frank Andrews from Princes Risborough built the house in 1957. His son David Andrews built the extension.”

Back in 1956 Stirling’s only regret was that Wycombe District Council wouldn’t allow him to have a flat roof on his house in the Chilterns. The planners insisted on a pitched roof.

Four years after the architect’s death, as a tribute to his legacy of innovative design, the RIBA changed the name of the annual Building of the Year Award to the Stirling Prize for Architecture.

The winner of the 2019 prize for the best new building in the UK will be announced in October.