Returning to Scripps from a sabbatical at Cambridge University in England, in 1956 Munk developed plans for a La Jolla branch of the Institute of Geophysics, then a part of the University of California, Los Angeles. With the new branch of IGP, an institution of the wider University of California system, to be focused on planetary physics with an emphasis on the Earth-Moon system, IGP changed its name to the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, IGPP. IGPP at La Jolla was built between 1959–1963 with funding from the University of California, the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the National Science Foundation, and private foundations,   The redwood building was designed by architect Lloyd Ruocco, in close consultation with Judith and Walter Munk. The IGPP buildings have become the center of the Scripps campus. Among the early faculty appointments were Carl Eckart, George Backus, Freeman Gilbert and John Miles. The eminent geophysicist Sir Edward “Teddy” Bullard was a regular visitor to IGPP. In 1971 an endowment of $600,000 was established by Cecil Green to support visiting scholars, now known as Green Scholars. Munk served as director of IGPP/LJ from 1963–1982.
In the late 1980s, plans for an expansion of IGPP were developed by Judith and Walter Munk, and Sharyn and John Orcutt, in consultation with a local architect, Fred Liebhardt. The Revelle Laboratory was completed in 1993. At this time the original IGPP building was renamed the Walter and Judith Munk Laboratory for Geophysics. In 1994 the Scripps branch of IGPP was renamed the Cecil H. and Ida M. Green Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics.