In 1935, a young man who is discouraged by life bicycles through the woods. He sees a resort designed by Howard Roark, and its design gives him enough courage to last a lifetime.
We learn the story of how Roark came to design this resort: Roark hears of a group of developers hoping to build a resort in Monadnock Valley for people of moderate income. Roark does not think the board will give him the project, but he goes to see them. He argues that resorts should make people feel sheltered and unique. To his surprise, the board gives him the commission. They are almost too eager to be true, but Roark’s work so engrosses him that he hardly notices. He employs all his old allies, including Stephen Mallory. They live idyllically together in shacks in the valley. As the opening date approaches, it seems as if the company wants to keep customers away, but people still rent every house in Monadnock Valley. It turns out that the developers were hoping to cheat their investors by making the resort fail, and picked Roark because they thought he was a bad architect. This angers Mallory, but Roark reminds him that none of it matters because the resort has been built.
In 1936, Roark receives a call from Wynand asking for a meeting.
Wynand and Roark immediately connect with one another. Wynand does not know about Roark and Dominique’s affair and Dominique does not know the two men are meeting. Wynand asks Roark to design him a private home. Some buildings, says Wynand, are cheap showoffs, but Roark’s buildings all share a sense of joy. Roark is surprised that Wynand understands him so completely. Wynand says he wants the house to be a fortress that shields his wife from the world. Roark accepts the project. After Roark leaves, Wynand reads every article the Banner has ever printed about Roark.
Wynand and Roark walk for hours on the proposed site of Wynand’s house. They discuss their similarities, and how both overcame tough circumstances and achieved success. Roark does not nurse any grudges over the Banner’s earlier criticism of him. After completing the initial sketches, Roark visits Wynand’s office. Wynand tells Roark he will only build the house if Roark agrees to become Wynand’s personal architect and design all future buildings in whatever style Wynand wants. If Roark refuses, Wynand will destroy him. Roark makes a quick sketch of a traditional house and asks Wynand if that is what he wants. Wynand recoils from the drawing, and Roark tells Wynand not to bother him with orders or suggestions. Wynand laughs because this is proof that Roark is a truly incorruptible man.
Wynand shows Roark’s drawings to Dominique without telling her who drew them. Dominique recognizes that the house was designed as tribute to Roark’s love for her. Roark arrives at their apartment and he and Dominique act as if nothing has happened between them. Dominique sees the familiarity between Wynand and Roark and realizes that Roark’s purity has led to Wynand’s redemption. Later, Wynand calls Toohey to his office and forbids him from ever mentioning Roark’s name in his column. Toohey agrees.