John Rowlett graduated from the University of Texas with degrees in education and architecture. He first met Bill Caudill, a colleague, while serving as an architecture professor at Texas A&M before World War II. After returning from the service, Caudill and Rowlett implemented plans to open an architecture firm.

In March of 1946, the two professors opened Caudill and Rowlett, Architects. John Rowlett played a significant part in expanding CRS through its numerous branch offices. In 1952, Rowlett terminated his teaching career, and with Tom Bullock, opened CRS’s first branch office in Oklahoma. Later, John Rowlett was instrumental in opening five additional branch offices, including the New York City branch office (1963) and the Hartford, Connecticut, office (1968). He was also a design management consultant for many projects, including the Pontifical Catholic University, Lima Peru; the School of Architecture, University of the Philippines, Luzon; and the College of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. 

Rowlett retired in 1976 and died in 1978. In his honor, the John Miles Rowlett Memorial Lecture Fund was endowed for the Texas A&M School of Architecture.