Basis Architecture and Design

The Go-To Firm for Multi-Family Housing Rehabilitation and Design

In the multi-family housing industry, Basis is a unicorn as its analytical and creative practices inform one another seamlessly, allowing the firm to design exceptional economic, social, and aesthetic value into every solution. Acting on its core belief that everyone is entitled to a comfortable place to live, Basis provides solutions for creating and rehabilitating multifamily housing throughout the West. I developed a brand strategy for this small but mighty architectural firm that outlines its positioning, audience, key messages, and a path forward.

My work with Basis Architecture and Design: Brand Strategy, Website, Ads

from the Brand Strategy

Positioning Statement

Basis Architecture & Consulting partners work with preferred developers of non-profit and for-profit multifamily housing throughout the West and Hawaii. We’re driven by the process of renewal that underlies all of our projects and by our commitment to multifamily housing. Our deep understanding of the ins and outs of all aspects of multi-family finance, private and public, our strong rapport with lenders, investors and regulators give us a distinct edge. Because our analytical and creative practices inform one another seamlessly, we’re able to design exceptional economic, social, and aesthetic value into every solution.

Core Statement

Elevator Pitch: We believe everyone’s entitled to a comfortable place to live. Basis provides solutions for creating and rehabilitating multifamily housing throughout the West.

Longer Version: Basis Architecture & Consulting improves people’s lives with optimal solutions for creating and preserving multifamily housing, especially affordable housing. We aim high and ensure the best possible outcomes by partnering with exceptional developers and putting our unmatched experience and long-established connections to work on every project.


Our clients are for-profit and non-profit developers, primarily in the West and Hawaii, who rehab and/or build new construction, as well as investors and owners of market rate developments. Here’s whom we work with:

  • Developers and owners of multi-family housing, both for-profit and non-profit.
  • Institutions who own and operate multi-family housing on a long- or short-term basis.
  • Investment trusts, including public and privately held REITs, high-worth individuals.

Fifty percent of our projects are affordable and utilize the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit or other form of direct or indirect subsidy.

Brief History

Founder Charlie Pick was one of the first architects in the nation to work in the nascent field of real estate due diligence in the 1980s and continued to work in due diligence as that industry evolved through the years. So, when Charlie founded Basis Architecture & Consulting in January of 2007, he did something that hadn’t been done before — he paired two services: due diligence and architecture. And Basis was busy right from the start, building on his previous client base in due diligence.

Working with enterprising multifamily housing clients throughout the West, the Basis team provides both assessment and scoping as well as full architectural services for affordable and market-rate multifamily housing. Our analytical and creative practices inform one another to the benefit of our value-minded clients. We have a main office in the Bay Area and a robust satellite in San Diego.

In a Nutshell Statement

Partnering with first-rate developers, we improve people’s lives by upgrading multifamily housing in communities across the West. No one knows how to assess, renew, and design multifamily housing better than we do. Our experience, motivation, and connections enable us to add value to all our projects for both owners and residents.

Key Messages, Goals, and Strategies

Basis Culture
  • Our hearts are in what we do. We not only want to deliver for our clients but also for the people who occupy their developments. We want what we do to make people’s lives better.
  • We like transforming funk into fresh.
  • We believe the renewal of existing and creation of new multi-family housing is socially meaningful. This perspective is key to our company’s culture.
  • We love our work and enjoy life outside of work. This is part of why we’re so good at what we do.
  • Most of us have been working together for years—the work here is rewarding.
  • Charlie believes that if people get to do what they’re best at, they’ll like doing it and they’ll do their job well. This allows Basis to succeed. When people are their zone they do well, individually and as a team.
  • If a new employee isn’t a good fit with us it’s immediately apparent, because they can’t produce the way we need them to.
  • The more someone has total owner of his or her own work, the better, and the more Basis can pay you.
  • Charlie is concertmaster. He sets up middle C but does not micromanage.
  • We have an office in San Diego with two full time employees and will soon expand that office.
  • We’re ready to grow, to bring new inspired people onboard who appreciate what we do and whose skills complement ours. We’re ready to recruit people who are truly the right fit.
  • Basis’s employees partially own the company. Charlie Pick will soon only own 70%. His vision is to be a rainmaker only, in 8 years.
  • Pro-bono when it’s in an appropriate venue in our wheelhouse: We have quietly helped out non-profit developers. When the situation is depressed, we’ve provided advice. However, we’ve been active with San Rafael homeless situation, helping to produce schematic for a multi-service center. Close contact with mayor and his team.
Basis Capabilities
  • When Charlie Pick founded Basis in 2007, he brought his unique experience—doing due diligence for the real estate industry—and a deep understanding of the real estate, economics, finance and government programs—to the development and rehabilitation of multi-family housing.
  • In providing both assessment and architectural solutions for both rehabilitation and new construction of multi-family housing, we’re a one-stop shop. No one really does what we do. The two San Rafael firms market themselves as litigation support, though they essentially do what we do, you wouldn’t know it from their marketing.
  • Our projects range from feasibility studies and due diligence assessments to architectural solutions for developments with 900+ units.
  • We gotten good results in the past through networking rather than marketing. Developers in places like Ukiah or Montana reach out to us because they appreciate our skill set. In Hawaii, no one can do what we do. Marketing could only take us further.
  • We’re experts in assessment and scoping and offer full architectural services for rehabilitation or new construction of projects, large and small.
  • Our connections and understanding of the industry are unmatched.
  • With 50 percent of multi-family developments relying on subsidies, our longtime relationships with RD, HUD personnel and knowledge of the rules and regulations of these programs is invaluable. “We know the programs and we know the people.”
  • With every solution we provide for our clients we deliver value.
  • We pay attention to the economics of every project. We watch how every dollar is going to be used.
  • Currently, we’re bringing our architectural services to not just rehabilitation but also to new building construction (and we’re meeting with great success).
  • We have an impressive client list of nationally known developers. Both the non-profit and for-profit housing developers we work with are topnotch.