"Dear Wystan, since I know you will eventually stumble upon this photograph can I just go ahead and preemptively ask for information about the Masonic Temple? Thanks!" (photo and quote by Phil Dokas)
Phil, I am touched by your faith in my proclivity for stumbling . . . . I also stumbled across this page from Jim Rees, who concurs with your aesthetic assessment of the Federal Building.
Even as the Federal Building was taking shape, witnesses realized that it was not going to turn out well. Its insipid obtrusiveness compounded the felony that had been committed already in removing the Masonic Temple and several inoffensive houses, merely so that several dozen USPS trucks could be parked on a barren lot behind. The building's greatest sin was that it was not special enough for the site. As a structure, it was obviously unworthy of the sacrifice that had been made in the loss of the Temple.
Notwithstanding the negative impact that the new building made on the public mood, and on the downtown streetscape, within a few months of its completion it received awards from the Michigan chapter of the American Institute of Architects, and from some kind of academy of masonry contractors. Coincidentally, these outfits appear to have represented the only people anywhere who actually profited from its existence. I read stories about their awards in the newspaper, and snickered. Everyone could see that the emperor had no clothes.
In a memorable sally, Ann Arbor News columnist Jane Myers referred to the glassed-in staircase bay out in front as "King Kong's shower stall." (DeLaurentiis' 1976 version of the King Kong movie was still fresh in memory.)
John Baird supplies this photo of the Frehsee "Corner House" Building, on State Street at Washington, another worthy contender for your "ugliest" honors.
submitted by Wystan Stevens