The image appears above a headline asking "Lost the perk-in in your gherkin" in the advert, which appeared in today's edition of London newspaper The Evening Standard. The following text promotes "Erectile Dysfunction treatment you can trust" that can be bought at Lloyds pharmacy stores.
The advert echoes a drawing by architect and urbanist Leon Krier, which showed the London tower as a wilting "architectural priapism".
The sketch appears in Krier's 2009 book The Architecture of Community, in which he parodies the phallic form of modern skyscrapers.
"The hollow priapism of the utilitarian skyscraper and the pathological monumentalism of totalitarian bombast," Krier wrote, "are the proliferating symbols of catastrophic hubris, of loss of human limits, of humaneness tout court."
In an interview with the Guardian in 2006, Krier - a favourite of Prince Charles and the master-planner of Charles' traditionalist Poundbury development in Dorset, England - described the building as a "sexual aberration".
"It's generally people who need to show their power and they don't know why, but it's stronger than them because, intellectually, you cannot argue for high-rise cities," Krier said. "The more you densify a city, the more congestion will increase, however technology changes ... cities so packed that they will no longer function ... vertical sprawl."
Prince Charles himself was more circumspect in his criticism of Foster's tower, describing it as resembling "a giant glass shaggy ink cap".
The Gherkin's correct name is 30 St Mary Axe, but its more popular nickname stuck when early press coverage compared the building to an "erotic gherkin". It was designed by Norman Foster, who is famously married to a sex therapist.
Located in the City of London financial district, the 180m tower was completed in 2004. Foster + Partners did not respond to Dezeen's requests for a comment on the advert.
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