Developing neural models that accurately understand objects in 3D point clouds is essential for the success of robotics and autonomous driving. However, arguably due to the higher-dimensional nature of the data (as compared to images), existing neural architectures exhibit a large variety in their designs, including but not limited to the views considered, the format of the neural features, and the neural operations used. Lack of a unified framework and interpretation makes it hard to put these designs in perspective, as well as systematically explore new ones. In this paper, we begin by proposing a unified framework of such, with the key idea being factorizing the neural networks into a series of view transforms and neural layers. We demonstrate that this modular framework can reproduce a variety of existing works while allowing a fair comparison of backbone designs. Then, we show how this framework can easily materialize into a concrete neural architecture search (NAS) space, allowing a principled NAS-for-3D exploration. In performing evolutionary NAS on the 3D object detection task on the Waymo Open Dataset, not only do we outperform the state-of-the-art models, but also report the interesting finding that NAS tends to discover the same macro-level architecture concept for both the vehicle and pedestrian classes.