The Smithsonian Institution gets about a half million dollars. The Philadelphia architecture firm GBQC gets its good name back. And Canadian architect Douglas Cardinal gets a smidgen of credit for his role in the design of the National Museum of the American Indian.

Those are the principal results of an out-of-court settlement of the 17-month-old lawsuit in which GBQC challenged its dismissal by the Smithsonian in January 1998.

The firm achieved its main aim--the Smithsonian agreed to change the terms of the dismissal from "default" to "convenience," thereby making it possible for GBQC to seek other federal architecture contracts. Smithsonian officials had said that the institution had no choice but to drop GBQC after it failed to meet contractual deadlines.

In the settlement, the Smithsonian received a check for $453,593.03 from GBQC's insurance company. No reason was given for the payment in court documents, which show that, in a counterclaim against the architecture firm, the Smithsonian had asked for about $7.5 million in compensation for various costs. As is customary in such settlements, neither party admitted any liability.

And Cardinal, the much-honored Canadian architect who has charged the Smithsonian with "forgery" of his design for the Mall museum, got his name on a construction fence.

In particular, his name appears with that of GBQC on a fence surrounding the building site, bordered by Third Street, Fourth Street, Maryland Avenue and Independence Avenue SW. Cardinal and GBQC are credited with "conceptual design" of the museum. Their names are followed by those of the consultants the Smithsonian now has working on the design.

The sign apparently is the result of a stipulation in the legal settlement guaranteeing GBQC credit "reasonably identical" to that given to "the replacement design team." Cardinal was not part of the suit, and his name was not specifically mentioned in this clause of the agreement. It is common knowledge that, working as a subcontractor to GBQC, he was the primary author of the unusual, organic design.

The Canadian architect yesterday called the settlement "absolutely outrageous."

A Smithsonian spokesperson yesterday said that neither the settlement nor the sign implied any intention to reinstate GBQC or Cardinal to the design team.

The other designers listed on the sign are John Paul Jones (Cherokee/Choctaw) and Jones & Jones; ethnobotanist Donna House (Navajo/Oneida); design consultant Ramona Sakiestewa (Hopi); Lou Weller (Caddo); the Native American Design Collaborative; and, as architect of record, the Polshek Partnership and Tobery & Davis. Cardinal's Indian ancestry is not mentioned. He is of Blackfoot and Metis descent.