Ever wondered where building standards came from? It's a mystery even to many architects. As Daniel Richards explains, though, they were essentially invented by a pioneering Bauhaus architect called Ernst Neufert, who was fascinated by mass production and inspired by the standardisation of paper sizes and the myriad ramifications this had.
Unfortunately, the visionary result, Neufert's Octametric system, was initially put to work in service of the Nazis - but the Allies found it too useful to resist adopting themselves in the course of rebuilding Germany after the war.
(Thanks to Alan for the link.)