Anyone who has studied OO programming has probably knows that the idea of design patterns originated in the field of architecture. In fact there are quite a few practices and paradigms the software and construction industries share. I've seen a few examples of this recently in the building of 20 new rowhomes next door to mine.
When my wife and I bought our house it was adjacent to an abandoned church and school which took up half our block. Soon after moving in the church was sold to developers who announced they planned to build 20 new townhomes on the lot. The demolition began in the winter and took forever. Then they started on the foundations for the 10 homes on our side of the block and again this seemed to take a really long time. We are talking close to 9 months of construction and all they had were 10 foundations.
We had heard that these were going to be modular homes, but other than a double-wide I had never really seen a modular home before so I wasn't sure what to expect. Well one day a bunch of trucks arrived and dropped off all of these huge, um... modules, that were parts of the new houses. The next day when my wife and I went to work, and when we came home one and a half houses were standing at the end of the block. The next day I decided to watch a little of what they were doing. They basically just just picked these modules up with a crane and stacked them on top of one another like building blocks.
Now, I'm not sure I would buy one of these modular homes, but it was a pretty impressive sight none the less. I found it interesting how by taking the time to build a solid foundation and using modular components they were able to build the actual houses at a greatly accelerated pace. This parallels my experiences in software development, however I generally start with a pre -built foundation in a framework or combination of frameworks and then develop the "modules." But it's still modular development on top a solid foundation, something that you can't really get away from if you want to build a quality product efficiently.